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Full text of "The_Poetry_Of_Architecture_Cottage_Villa_Etc"

109118 



ARCHITECTURE 

COTTAGE, VILLA, ETC. 



TO WHICH IS ADDED SUGGESTIONS ON 

WORKS OF ART. 

BY 

KATA PHUSIN." 

CONJECTURED NOM-DE-PLUME OF 

JOHN HUSKEST. 



WITH NUMEROUS ILLUSTRATION 3. 



MJW YORK: 

JOHN WILEY & SONS, 

15 ASTOR PLACE 

1881. 



ADVERTISEMENT. 



IT is not generally known that Mr. Ruskin contributed a 
number of most interesting articles, on the Poetry of Architec- 
ture, <fec., to this Magazine (London's Architectural Magazine), 
under the nom-de-plume of " KLata Phusin." London Cata- 
logue. 



MASSACHUSETTS, Feb., 1873. 
MESSRS. WILEY & SON, 

DEAR SIRS : I find in London's Magazine o'f Architecture, 
of perhaps 30 years ago, a series of charming articles, with illus- 
trations, entitled Villa and Cottage Architecture, signed " Kata 
Phusin," which must surely have been written by Ruskin his 
style perfectly. Yours truly, 

H. W. P. 



CONTENTS. 



INTRODUCTION 1 

THE COTTAGE. 

I. The Lowland Cottage. England and France 7 

H The Lowland Cottage. Italy 16 

TTT. The Mountain Cottage. Switzerland 29 

IV. The Mountain Cottage. Westmoreland 42 

Y. A Chapter on Chimneys 55 

THE VILLA. 

The Mountain Villa. Lago di Como 81 

L The Italian Villa 119 

IL The Lowland Villa. England 133 

TTT. The English Villa. Principles of Composition 145 

IV. The British Villa. The Cultivated, or Blue, Country. 

Principles of Composition 162 

V. The British Villa. HiH, or Brown, Country. -Prin- 
ciples of Composition , 187 

"WORKS OF AST 225 



THE POETRY 



OF 



AR C HITE O TTJRE 



INTRODUCTION. 

THE Science of Architecture, followed out to its full ex- 
tent, is one of the noblest of those which have reference 
only to the creations of human minds. It is not merely 
a science of the rule and compass, it does not consist only 
in the observation of just rule, or of fair proportion : it is, 
or ought to be, a science of feeling more than of rule, a 
ministry to the mind, more than to the eye. If we con- 
sider how much less the beauty and majesty of a building 
depend upon its pleasing certain prejudices of the eye, 
than upon its rousing certain trains of meditation in the 
mind, it will show in a moment how many intricate 
questions of feeling are involved in the raising of an 
edifice ; it will convince us of the truth of a proposition, 
which might at first have appeared startling, that no man 
can be an architect, who is not a metaphysician. 

To the illustration of the department of this noblo 

science which may be designated the Poetry of Archi- 
1 



2 THE POETBY OF ARCHITEOTtrRE. 

lecture, this and some future articles will be dedicated. 
It is this peculiarity of the art which constitutes its 
nationality ; and it will be found as interesting as it is 
useful, to trace in the distinctive characters of the archi- 
tecture of nations, not only its adaptation to the situation 
and climate in which it has arisen, but its strong similarity 
to, and connection with, the prevailing turn of mind by 
which the nation who first employed it is distinguished. 

I consider the task I have imposed upon myself the 
more necessary, because this department of the science, 
perhaps regarded by some who have no ideas beyond 
stone and mortar as chimerical, and by others who think 
nothing necessary but truth and proportion as useless, 
is at a miserably low ebb in England. And what is 
the consequence? We have Corinthian coluiiins placed 
beside pilasters of no order at all, surmounted by mon- 
strosified pepper-boxes, Gothic in form and Grecian 
in detail, in a building nominally and peculiarly national ; 
we have Swiss cottages, falsely and calumniously so 
entitled, dropped in the brick-fields around the metropolis ; 
and we have staring, square-windowed, flat-roofed gen- 
tlemen's seats, of the lath and plaster, mock-magnificent, 
Regent's Park description, rising on the woody promon- 
tories of Derwent "Water. 

How deeply is it to be regretted, how much is it 
to be wondered at, that, in a country whose school of 
painting, though degraded by its system of meretricious 
colouring, and disgraced by hosts of would-be imitators 



THE POETEY OF ARCHITECTURE. 3 

of inimitable individuals, is yet raised by the dis- 
tinguished talent of those individuals to a place of well- 
deserved honour ; and the studios of whose sculptors are 
filled with designs of the most pure simplicity, and 
most perfect animation ; the school of architecture should 
be so miserably debased ! 

There are, however, many reasons for a fact so lamenta- 
ble. In the first place, the patrons of architecture (I am 
speaking of all classes of buildings, from the lowest to 
the highest,) are a more numerous and less capable class 
than those of painting. The general public, and I 
say it with sorrow, because I know it from observation, 
have little to do with the encouragement of the school of 
painting, beyond the power which they unquestionably 
possess, arid unmercifully use, of compelling our artists to 
substitute glare for beauty. Observe the direction of 
public taste at any of our exhibitions. We see visitors, at 
that of the Society of Painters in "Water Colours, passing 
Taylor with anathemas and Lewis with indifference, to re- 
main in reverence and admiration before certain amiable 
white lambs and water-lilies, whose artists shall be name- 
less. We see them, in the Royal Academy, passing by 
Wilkie, Turner, and Callcott, with shrugs of doubt or of 
scorn, to fix in gazing and enthusiastic crowds upon ket- 
tles-full of witches, and His Majesty's ships so and so 
lying to in a gale, &c., &c. But these pictures attain 
no celebrity because the public admire them, for it is not 
to the public that the judgment is intrusted. It is by the 



4 THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 

chosen few, by our nobility and men of taste and talent, 
tliat the decision is made, the fame bestowed, and the 
artist encouraged. Not so in architecture. There, the 
power is generally diffused. Every citizen may box him- 
self up in as barbarous a tenement as suits his taste or in- 
clination ; the architect is his vassal, and must permit him 
not only to criticise, but to perpetrate. The palace or the 
nobleman's seat may be raised in good taste, and become 
the admiration of a nation ; but the influence of their 
owner is terminated by the boundary of his estate ; he 
has no command over the adjacent scenery, and the pos- 
sessor of every thirty acres around him has him at 
his mercy. The streets of our cities are examples of the 
effects of this clashing of different tastes; and they 
are either remarkable for the utter absence of all attempt 
at embellishment, or disgraced by every variety of abomi- 
nation. 

Again, in a climate like ours, those few who have know- 
ledge and feeling to distinguish what is beautiful, are fre- 
quently prevented by various circumstances from erecting 
it. John Bull's comfort perpetually interferes with his 
good taste, and I should be the first to lament his losing sc 
much of his nationality, as to permit the latter to prevail. 
He cannot put his windows into a recess, without darken- 
ing his rooms ; he cannot raise a narrow gable above his 
walls, without knocking his head against the rafters ; and, 
worst of all, he cannot do either, without being stigmatized 
by the awful, inevitable epithet, of " a very odd man.' 1 



THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 5 

Rut, though much of the degradation of our present school 
of architecture is owing to the want or the unfitness of 
patrons, surely it is yet more attributable to a lamentable 
deficiency of taste and talent among our architects them- 
selves. It is true, that in a country affording so little en- 
couragement, and presenting so many causes for its ab- 
sence, it cannot be expected that we should have any 
Michael Angelo Buonarottis. The energy of our architects 
is expended in raising, " neat " poor-houses, and " pretty " 
charity schools ; and, if they ever enter upon a work of 
a higher rank, economy is the order of the day : plaster 
and stucco are substituted for granite and marble ; rods 
of splashed iron for columns of verd-antique ; and, in the 
wild struggle after novelty, the fantastic is mistaken foi 
the graceful, the complicated for the imposing, superfluity 
of ornament for beauty, and its total absence for simplicity. 
But all these disadvantages might in some degree be 
counteracted, and all these abuses in a great degree pre- 
vented, were it not for the slight attention paid by our 
architects to that branch of the art which I have above 
designated as the Poetry of Architecture. All unity of 
feeling (which is the first principle of good taste) is neg- 
lected ; we see nothing but incongruous combination : we 
have pinnacles without height, windows without light, col- 
umns with nothing to sustain, and buttresses with nothing 
to support. We have parish paupers smoking their 
pipes and drinking their beer under Gothic arches and 
sculptured niches; and quiet old English gentlemen reclin- 



6 THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 

ing on crocodile stools, and peeping out of . the windows 
of Swiss chalets. 

I shall attempt, therefore, to endeavour to illustrate the 
principle from the neglect of which these abuses have 
arisen ; that of unity of feeling, the basis of all grace, the 
essence of all beauty. We shall consider the architecture 
of nations as it is influenced by their feelings and manners, 
as it is connected with the scenery in which it is found, and 
with the skies under which it was erected ; we shall be 
led as much to the street and the cottage as to the temple 
and the tower ; and shall be more interested in buildings 
raised by feeling, than in those corrected by rule. We 
shall commence with the lower class of edifices, proceed- 
ing from the road-side to the village, and from the village 
to the city ; and, if we succeed in directing the attention 
of a single individual more directly to this most interest- 
ing department of the science of architecture, we shall not 
have written in vain. 



THE COTTAGE. 
I. The Lowland Cottage. England and France. 

OF all embellishments by which the efforts of man can 
enhance the beauty of natural scenery, those are the most 
effective which can give animation to the scene, while the 
spirit which they bestow is in unison with its general 
character. It is generally desirable to indicate the pre- 
sence of animated existence in a scene of natural beauty ; 
but only of such existence as shall be imbued with the 
spirit, and shall partake of the essence, of the beauty, 
which, without it, would be dead. If our object, there- 
fore, is to embellish a scene the character of which is 
peaceful and unpretending, we must not erect a building 
fit for the abode of wealth or pride. However beautiful 
or imposing in itself, such an object immediately indi- 
cates the presence of a kind of existence unsuited to the 
scenery which it inhabits ; and of a mind which, when it 
sought retirement, was unacquainted with its own ruling 
feelings, and which consequently excites no sympathy in 
ours; but, if we erect a dwelling which may appear 
adapted to the wants, and sufficient for the comfort, of a 
gentle heart and lowly mind, we have instantly attained 
our object : we have bestowed animation, but we have not 
disturbed repose. 



8 THE POETRY OF AECniTECTHBE. 

It is for tliis reason that the cottage is one of the embel 
lisliments of natural scenery which deserve attentive con- 
sideration. It is beautiful always, and everywhere; 
whether looking out of the woody dingle with its eye-like 
window, and sending up the motion of azure smoke be- 
tween the silver trunks of aged trees ; or grouped among 
the bright corn-fields of the fruitful plain; or forming 
grey clusters along the slope of the mountain side, the 
cottage always gives the idea of a thing to be beloved : a 
quiet life-giving voice, that is as peaceful as silence itself. 

With these feelings, we shall devote some time to the 
consideration of the prevailing characters, and national 
peculiarities, of European cottages. The principal thing 
worthy of observation in the lowland cottage of England 
is its finished neatness. The thatch is firmly pegged 
down, and mathematically leveled at the edges; and, 
though the martin is permitted to attach his humble 
domicile, in undisturbed security, to the eaves, he may be 
considered as enhancing the effect of the cottage, by in- 
creasing its usefulness, and making it contribute to the 
comfort of more beings than one. The whitewash is 
stainless, and its rough surface catches a side light as 
brightly as a front one: the luxuriant rose is trained 
gracefully over the window; and the gleaming lattice, 
divided not into heavy squares, but into small pointed 
diamonds, is thrown half open, as is just discovered by its 
glance among the green leaves of the sweetbrier, to ad- 
mit the breeze, that, as it passes over the flowers, becomes 



THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 9 

full of their fragrance. The light wooden porch breaks 
the flat of the cottage face by its projection; and a branch 
Dr twc of wandering honeysuckle spread over the lovr 
batch. A few square feet of garden, and a latched 
wicket, persuading the weary and dusty pedestrian, with 
Bxpressive eloquence, to lean upon it for an instant, and 
request a drink of water or milk, complete a picture, 
which, if it be far enough from London to be unspoiled 
by town sophistications, is a very perfect thing in its way. 
The ideas it awakens are agreeable ; and the architecture 
is all that we want in such a situation. It is pretty and 
appropriate ; and, if it boasted of any other perfection, it 
would be at the expense of its propriety. 

Let us now cross the Channel, and endeavour to find a 
country cottage on the other side, if we can ; for it is a 
difficult matter. There are many villages; but such a 
thing as an isolated cottage is extremely rare. Let us try 
one or two of the green valleys among the chalk emi- 
nences which sweep from Abbeville to Rouen. Here is a 
cottage at last, and a picturesque one, which is more than. 
we could say for the English domicile. "What, then, is 
the difference? There is a general air of nonchalance 
about the French peasant's habitation, which is aided by 
a perfect want of everything like neatness ; and rendered 
more conspicuous by some points about the building 
which have a look of neglected beauty, and obliterated 
ornament. Half of the whitewash is worn off, and the 
other half coloured by various mosses and wandering 



10 THE POETKY OF ARCHITECTTTBE. 

lichens, which have, been permitted to vegetate upon it, 
and which, though beautiful, constitute a kind of beauty 
from which the ideas of age and decay are inseparable. 
The tall roof of the garret window stands fantastically 
out; and underneath it, where, in England, we had a 
plain double lattice, is a deep recess, flatly arched at the 
top, built of solid masses of grey stone, fluted on the edge; 
while the brightness of the glass within (if there be any) 
is lost in shade, causing the recess to appear to the ob- 
server like a dark eye. The door has the same character: 
it is also of stone, which is so much broken and disguised 
as to prevent it from giving any idea of strength or sta- 
bility. The entrance is always open : no roses, or any- 
thing else, are wreathed about it ; several out-houses, built 
in the same style, give the building extent; and the 
group (in all probability, the dependency of some large 
old chateau in the distance) does not peep out of copse, or 
thicket, or a group of tall and beautiful trees, but stands 
comfortlessly between two individuals of the column of 
long-trnnked fac-simile elms, which keep guard along the 
length of the public road. 

Now, let it be observed how perfectly, how singularly 
the distinctive characters of these two cottages agree with 
those of the countries in which they are built; and of 
the people for whose use they are constructed. England 
is a country whose every scene is in miniature. Its green 
valleys are not wide; its dewy hills are not high; ita 
forests are of no extent, or. rather, it has nothing that wan 



THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 11 

pretend to a more sounding title tlian tliat of "wood." 
Its champaigns are minutely chequered into fields: we 
never can see far at a time ; and there is a sense of some 
thing inexpressible, except by the truly English word, 
"snug," in every quiet nook and sheltered lane. The 
English cottage, therefore, is equally small, equally shel- 
tered, equally invisible at a distance. 

But France is a country on a large scale. Low, but 
long, hills sweep away for miles into vast uninterrupted 
champaigns; immense forests shadow the country for 
hundreds of square miles, without once letting through 
the light of day; its pastures and arable land are divided 
on the same scale ; there are no fences ; we can hardly 
place ourselves in any spot where we shall not see for 
leagues around; and there is a kind of comfortless sub- 
limity in the size of every scene. The French cottage, 
therefore, is on the same scale, equally large and deso- 
late-looking ; but we shall see, presently, that it can 
arouse feelings which, though they cannot be said to 
give it sublimity, yet are of a higher order than any 
which can be awakened at the sight of the English 
cottage. 

Again, every bit of cultivated ground in England has a 
finished neatness ; the fields are all divided by hedges or 
fences; the fruit trees are neatly pruned, the roads 
beautifully made, &c. Everything is the reverse in 
France : the fields are distinguished by the nature of the 
crops they bear ; the fruit trees are overgrown with moss 



12 THE POETJRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 

and mistletoe; and the roads immeasurably wide, and 
miserably made. 

So much for the character of the two cottages, as they 
assimilate with the countries in which they are found. 
Let us now see how they assimilate with the character of 
the people by whom they are built. England is a country 
of perpetually increasing prosperity and active enterprise ; 
but, for that very reason, nothing is allowed to remain till 
it gets old. Large old trees are cut down for timber; 
old houses are pulled down for the materials.; and old 
furniture is laughed at and neg.ected. Everything is 
perpetually altered and renewed by the activity of inven- 
tion and improvement. The cottage, consequently, has no 
dilapidated look about it ; it is never suffered to get old ; 
it is used as long as it is comfortable, and then taken 
down and rebuilt ; for it was originally raised in a style 
incapable of resisting the ravages of time. But^ in France, 
there prevail two opposite feelings, both in the extreme : 
that of the old-pedigreed population, which preserves 
unliniitedly ; and that of the modern revolutionists, which 
destroys unmercifully. Every object has partly the ap- 
pearance of having been preserved with infinite care from 
an indefinite age, and partly exhibits the evidence of 
recent ill-treatment and disfiguration. Primeval forests 
rear their vast trunks over those of many younger gener- 
ations growing up beside them ; the chateau or the palace, 
showing, by its style of architecture, its venerable age. 
bears the marks of the cannon ball, and, from neglect, is 



THE POETRY O3T ARCHITECTURE. 13 

withering into desolation. Little is renewed: there is 
little spirit of improvement ; and the customs which pre- 
vailed centuries ago are still taught by the patriarchs of 
the families to their grandchildren. The French cottage, 
therefore, is just such as we should have expected from 
the disposition of its inhabitants : its massive windows, its 
broken ornaments, its whole air and appearance, all tell 
the same tale of venerable age, respected and preserved, 
till at last its dilapidation wears an appearance of neglect. 
Again, th^ Englishman will sacrifice everything to com- 
fort, and will not only take great pains to secure it, but 
he has generally also the power of doing so ; for the Eng- 
lish peasant is, on the average, wealthier than the French. 
The French peasant has no idea of comfort, and, therefore, 
makes no effort to secure it. This difference in the char- 
acter of their inhabitants is, as we have seen, written on 
the fronts of the respective cottages. The Englishman is, 
also, fond of display; but the ornaments, exterior and 
interior, with which he adorns his dwelling, however 
small it may be, are either to show the extent of his pos- 
sessions, or to contribute to some personal profit or gratifi- 
cation : they never seem designed for the sake of ornament 
alone. Thus, his wife's love of display is shown by the 
rows of useless crockery in her cupboard ; and his own by 
the rose tree at the front door, from which he may obtain 
an early bud to stick in the button-hole of his best blue 
coat on Sundays: the honeysuckle is cultivated for its 
sinell, the garden for its cabbages. Not so in Franca 



14 THE POETKY OF ARCHITECTURE. 

There, the meanest peasant, with an equal or greater love 
of display, embellishes his dwelling as much as lies in his 
power, solely for the gratification of his feeling of what is 
agreeable to the eye. The gable of his roof is prettily 
shaped ; the niche at its corner is richly carved ; the wooden 
beams, if there be any, are fashioned into grotesque figures ; 
and even the " air neglige " and general dilapidation of the 
building tell a thousand times more agreeably to an eye 
accustomed to the picturesque, than the spruce preserva- 
tion of the English cottage. 

No building which we feel to excite a sentiment of 
mere complacency can be said to be in good taste. On 
the contrary, when the building is of such a class, that it 
can neither astonish by its beauty, nor impress by its sub- 
limity, and when it is likewise placed in a situation so un- 
interesting as to render something more than mere fitness 
or propriety necessary, and to compel the eye to expect 
something from the building itself, a gentle contrast of 
feeling in that building is exceedingly desirable ; and, if 
possible, a sense that something has passed away, the pres- 
ence of which would have bestowed a deeper interest on 
the whole scene. The fancy will immediately try to re- 
cover this, and, in the endeavour, will obtain the desired 
effect from an indefinite cause. 

Now, the French cottage cannot please by its propriety, 
for it can only be adapted to the ugliness around ; and, as 
it ought to be, and cannot but be, adapted to this, it is still 
less able to please by its beauty. How, then, can it please ? 



THE POETRY OF AECHITECTUEE. 15 

There is no pretence to gaiety in its appearance, no green 
flower-pots in ornamental lattices; but the substantial 
style of any ornaments it may possess, the recessed 
windows, the stone carvings, and the general size of the 
whole, unite to produce an impression of the building 
having once been fit for the residence of prouder inha- 
bitants ; of its having once possessed strength, which is 
now withered, and beauty, which is now faded. This 
sense of something lost ; something which has been, and 
is not, is precisely what is wanted. The imagination is 
set actively to work in an instant; and we are made aware 
of the presence of a beauty, the more pleasing because 
visionary; and, while the eye is pitying the actual hu- 
mility of the present building, the mind is admiring the 
imagined pride of the past. Every mark of dilapidation 
increases this feeling ; while these very marks (the frac- 
tures of the stone, the lichens of the mouldering wall, 
and the graceful lines of the sinking roof) are all delight- 
ful in themselves. 

Thus, we have shown that, while the English cottage is 
pretty from its propriety, the French cottage, having the 
same connexion with its climate, country, arid people, pro- 
duces such a contrast of feeling as bestows on it a beauty 
addressing itself to the mind, and is therefore in perfectly 
good taste. If we are asked why, in this instance, good 
taste produces only what every traveller feels to be not in 
the least striking, we reply that, where the surrounding 
circumstances are unfavourable, the very adaptation to them 



16 THE POETEY OF ARCHITECTURE. 

which we have declared to be necessary renders the buili 
ing uninteresting ; and that, in the next paper, we shall 
see a very different result from the operations of equally 
good taste in adapting a cottage to its situation, in one of 
the noblest districts of Europe. Our subject will be, the 
Lowland Cottage of North Italy. 
Sept., 1837. 



II. The Lowland Cottage. Italy. 

46 Most nmsical. most melancholy. 1 * 

LET it not be thought that we are unnecessarily detain- 
ing our readers from the proposed subject, if we premise 
a few remarks on the character of the landscape of the 
country we have now entered. It will always be neces- 
sary to obtain some definite knowledge of the distinctive 
features of a country, before we can form a just estimate 
of the beauties or the errors of its architecture. "We wish 
our readers to imbue themselves as far as may be with the 
spirit of the clime which we are now entering ; to cast 
away all general ideas ; to look only for unison of feeling, 
and to pronounce everything wrong which is contrary to 
the humours of nature. We must make them feel where 
they are ; we must throw a peculiar light and colour over 
their imaginations; then we will bring their judgment 
into play, for then it will be capable of just operation. 



THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 17 

We have passed, it must be observed (in lea ring Eng- 
land and France for Italy), from comfort to desolation; 
from excitement to sadness: we have left one country 
prosperous in its prime, and another frivolous in its age, 
for one glorious in its death. 

Now, we have prefixed the hackneyed line of H Pense- 
roso to our paper, because it is a definition of the essence 
of the beautiful. What is most musical will always be 
found most melancholy ; and no real beauty can be ob- 
tained without a touch of sadness. Whenever the beauti- 
ful loses its melancholy, it degenerates into prettiness, 
We appeal to the memories of all our observing readers, 
whether they have treasured up any scene, pretending to 
be more than pretty, which has not about it either a 
tinge of melancholy or a sense of danger : the one consti- 
tutes the beautiful, the other the sublime. 

This postulate being granted, as we are sure it will by 
most (and we beg to assure those who are refractory or ar- 
gumentative, that, were this a treatise on, the sublime and 
beautiful, we could convince and quell their incredulity to 
their entire satisfaction by innumerable instances), we 
proceed to remark here, once for all, that the principal 
glory of the Italian landscape is its extreme melancholy. 
It is fitting that it should be so: the dead are the nations 
of Italy; her name and her strength are dwelling with the 
pale nations underneath the earth; the chief and chosen 
boast of her utmost pride is the Mcjacet; she is but one 
wide sepulchre, and all her present life is like a shadow 



13 THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 

or a memory. And, therefore, or, rather, by a most beau- 
tiful coincidence, her national tree is the cypress; and 
whoever has marked the peculiar character which these 
noble shadowy spires can give to her landscape, lifting 
their majestic troops of waving darkness from beside the 
fallen column, or out of the midst of the silence of the 
shadowed temple and worshipless shrine, seen far and 
wide over the blue of the faint plain, without loving the 
dark trees for their sympathy with the sadness of Italy's 
sweet cemetery shore, is one who profanes her soil with his 
footsteps. Every part of the landscape is in unison ; the 
same glory of mourning is thrown over the whole; the 
deep blue of the heavens is mingled with that of the ever- 
lasting hills, or melted away into the silence of the sap- 
phire sea ; the pale cities, temple and tower, lie gleaming 
along the champaign ; but how calmly ! no hum of men ; 
no motion of multitude in the midst of them ; they are 
voiceless as the city of ashes. The transparent air is gen- 
tle among the blossoms of the orange and the dim leaves 
of the olive ; and the small fountains, which, in any other 
land, would spring merrily along, sparkling and singing 
among tinkling pebbles, here flow calmly and silently into 
some pale font of marble, all beautiful with life, worked 
by some unknown hand, long ago nerveless, and fall and 
pass on among wan flowers, and scented copse, through 
cool leaf -lighted caves or grey Egerian grottos, to join the 
Tiber or Eridanus, to swell the waves of Nemi, or the La- 
rian Lake. The most minute objects (leaf, flower, and 



THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE, ll 

stone), wliile they add to the beauty, seem to share in 
sadness of the whole. 

But, if one principal character of Italian landscape 
melancholy, another is elevation. "We have no simpL 
rusticity of scene, no cowslip and buttercup huinilifrj 
of seclusion. Tall mulberry trees, with festoons of th< 
luxuriant vine, purple with ponderous clusters, trailec 
and trellised between and over them, shade the wide 
fields of stately Indian corn ; luxuriance of lofty vege 
tation (catalpa, and aloe, and olive), ranging itself in 
lines of massy light along the wan champaign, guides the 
eye away to the unfailing wall of mountain, Alp or Apen- 
nineno cold long range of shivery grey, but dazzling light 
of snow, or undulating breadth of blue, fainter and darker 
in infinite variety ; peak, precipice, and promontory pass- 
ing away into the wooded hills, each with its tower or 
white village sloping into the plain; castellated battle- 
ments cresting their undulations ; some wide majestic 
river gliding along the champaign, the bridge on its breast 
and the city on its shore ; the whole canopied with cloud- 
less azure, basking in mistless sunshine, breathing the 
silence of odoriferous air. Now comes the question. In 
a country of this pomp of natural glory, tempered with 
melancholy memory of departed pride, what are we to 
wish for, what are we naturally to expect, in the character 
of her most humble edifices ; those which are most con- 
nected with present life, least with the past ? "Wliat are 
we to consider fitting or beautiful in her cottage ? 



20 THE POETBY OF ARCHITECTURE. 

We do not expect it to be comfortable, when everything 
around it betokens decay and desolation in the works of man 
"We do not wish it to be neat, where nature is most beautiful . 
because neglected. But we naturally look for an eleva- 
tion of character, a richness of design or form, which, while 
the building is kept a cottage, may yet give it a peculiar 
air of cottage aristocracy ; a beauty (no matter how dilapi- 
dated) which may appear to have have been once fitted for 
the surrounding splendour of scene and climate. Now, 
let us fancy an Italian cottage before us. The reader who 
has travelled in Italy will find little difficulty in recalling 
one to his memory, with its broad lines of light and shadow, 
and its strange, but not unpleasing mixture of grandeur 
and desolation. Let us examine its details, enumerate its 
architectural peculiarities, and see how far it agrees with 
our preconceived idea of what the cottage ought to be? 

The first remarkable point of the building is the roof. 
It generally consists of tiles of very deep curvature, which 
rib it into distinct vertical lines, giving it a far more agree- 
able surface than that of our flatter tiling. The form of 
the roof , however, is always excessively flat, so as never to 
let it intrude upon the eye ; and the consequence is, that, 
while an English village, seen at a distance, appears all red 
roof, the Italian is all white wall ; and, therefore, though 
always bright, is never gaudy. We have in these roofs an 
excellent example of what should always be kept in mind, 
that everything will be found beautiful, which climate < r 
situation render useful. The strong and constant heat oi 



22 THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 

tlie Italian sun would be intolerable if admitted at the 
windows ; and, therefore, the edges of the roof project 
far over the walls, and throw long shadows downwards, so 
as to keep the upper windows constantly cool. These 
long oblique shadows on the white surface are always de- 
lightful, and are alone sufficient to give the building char- 
acter. They are peculiar to the buildings of Spain and 
Italy ; for owing to the general darker color of those of 
more northerly climates, the shadows of their roofs, how- 
ever far thrown, do not tell distinctly, and render them, 
not varied, but gloomy. Another ornamental use of these 
shadows is, that they break the line of junction of the wall 
with the roof : a point always desirable, and in every kind 
of building, whether we have to do with lead, slate, tile, or 
thatch, one of extreme difficulty. This object is farther 
forwarded in the Italian cottage, by putting two or three 
windows up under the very eaves themselves, which is 
also done for coolness, so that their tops are formed by 
the roof; and the wall has the appearance of 'having 
been terminated by large battlements, and roofed over. 
And, finally, the eaves are seldom kept long on the same 
level: double or treble rows of tiling are introduced; 
long sticks and irregular woodwork are occasionally at- 
tached to them, to assist the festoons of the vines ; and the 
graceful irregularity and marked character of the whole ; 
must be dwelt on with equal delight by the eye of the 
poet, the artist, or the unprejudiced architect. All, how- 
ever, is exceedingly humble ; we have not yet met with the 



THE POETKY OF ABCHITECTUEE. 23 

elevation of character we expected. We shall find it, 
however, as we proceed. 

The next point of interest is the window. The modern 
Italian is completely owl-like in his habits. All the day- 
time, he lies idle and inert ; but during the night he is all 
activity: but it is mere activity of inoccupation. Idle- 
ness, partly induced by the temperature of the climate, 
and partly consequent on the decaying prosperity of the 
nation, leaves indications of its influence on all his under- 
takings. He prefers patching up a ruin to building a 
house ; he raises shops and hovels, the abodes of inactive, 
vegetating, brutish poverty, under the protection of the 
aged and ruined, yet stalwart, arches of the Roman amphi- 
theatre ; and the habitations of the lower orders frequent- 
ly present traces of ornament and stability of material 
evidently belonging to the remains of a prouder edifice. 
This is the case sometimes to such a degree as, in another 
country, would be disagreeable from its impropriety ; but, 
in Italy, it corresponds with the general prominence of the 
features of a past age, and is always beautiful. Thus, 
the eye rests with delight on the broken mouldings of the 
windows, and the sculptured capitals of the corner columns, 
contrasted, as they are, the one with the glassless black- 
ness within, the other with the ragged and dirty confusion 
of drapery around. The 'Italian window, in general, is a 
mere hole in the thick wall, always well proportioned; 
occasionally arched at the top, sometimes with the addi- 
tion of a little rich ornament ; seldom, if ever, having any 



24 THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 

casement or glass, but filled up with any bit of striped or 
colored cloth, which may have the slightest chance of de- 
ceiving the distant observer into the belief that it is a 
legitimate blind. This keeps off the sun, and allows a 
free circulation of air, which is the great object. When 
it is absent, the window becomes a mere black hole, hav- 
ing much the same relation to a glazed window that the 
hollow of a skull has to a bright eye ; not unexpressive, 
but frowning and ghastly, and giving a disagreeable im 
pression of utter emptiness and desolation within. Yet 
there is character in them : the black dots tell agreeably 
on the walls at a distance, and have no disagreeable sparkle 
to disturb the repose of surrounding scenery. Besides, the 
temperature renders everything agreeable to the eye, 
which gives it an idea of ventilation. A few roughly con- 
structed balconies, projecting from detached windows, 
usually break the uniformity of the wall. In some Italian 
cottages there are wooden galleries, resembling those so 
frequently seen in Switzerland; but this is not a very 
general character, except in the mountain valleys of JSTorth 
Italy, although sometimes a passage is effected from one 
projecting portion of a house to another by means of an 
exterior gallery. These are very delightful objects ; and, 
when shaded by luxuriant vines, which is frequently the 
case, impart a gracefulness to the building otherwise un- 
attainable. 

The next striking point is the arcade at the base of the 
building. This is general in cities; and, though fre- 



THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 25 

quently wanting to the cottage, is present often enough to 
render it an important feature. In fact, the Italian cot- 
tage is usually found in groups. Isolated buildings are 
rare ; and the arcade affords an agreeable, if not necessary 
shade in passing from one building to another. It is a 
still more unfailing feature of the Swiss city, where it is 
useful in deep snow. But the supports of the arches in 
Switzerland are generally square masses of wall, varying 
in size, separating the arches by irregular intervals, and 
sustained by broad and massy buttresses ; while, in Italy, 
the arches generally rest on legitimate columns, varying in 
height from one and a half to four diameters, with huge 
capitals, not unfrequently rich in detail. These give great 
gracefulness to the buildings in groups : they will be 
spoken of more at large when we are treating of arrange- 
ment and situation. 

The square tower, rising over the roof of the farther cot- 
tage, will not escape observation. In has been allowed to 
remain, not because such elevated buildings ever belong to 
mere cottages, but, first, that the truth of the scene might 
not be destroyed; and, secondly, because it is impossible, 
or nearly so, to obtain a group of buildings of any sort, in 
Italy, without one or more such objects rising behind them, 
beautifully contributing to destroy the monotony, and con- 
trast with the horizontal lines of the flat roofs and square 
walls. We think it right, therefore, to give the cottags 
the relief and contrast which, in reality, it possessed, 

though we are at present speaking of it in the abstract* 
2 



26 THE POETR7 OF ARCHITECTURE. 

Having now reviewed the distinctive parts of the Italian 
cottage in detail, we shall proceed to direct our attention 
to points of general character, 1. Simplicity of form. 
The roof, being flat, allows of no projecting garret win- 
dows, no fantastic gable ends : the walls themselves are 
equally flat ; no bow-windows or sculptured oriels, such as 
we meet with perpetually in Germany, France or the Neth- 
erlands, vary their white fronts. Now, this simplicity is, 
perhaps, the principal attribute by which the Italian cot- 
tage attains the elevation of character we desired and ex- 
pected. All that is fantastic in form, or frivolous in de- 
tail, annihilates the aristocratic air of a building : it at 
once destroys its sublimity and size, besides awakening, as 
is almost always the case, associations of a mean and low 
character. The moment we see a gable roof, we think of 
cocklofts ; the instant we observe a projecting window, of 
attics and tent-bedsteads. Now the Italian cottage as- 
sumes, with the simplicity, Pair noble of buildings of a 
higher order ; and, though it avoids all ridiculous minia- 
ture mimicry of the palace, it discards the humbler attri- 
butes of the cottage. The ornament it assumes is digni 
fled : no grinning faces, or unmeaning notched planks, but 
well-proportioned arches, or tastefully sculptured columns. 
While there is nothing about it unsuited to the humility of 
its inhabitant, there is a general dignity in its air, which 
harmonises beautifully with the nobility of the neighbour- 
ing edifices, or the glory of the surrounding scenery. 

2. Brightness of effect. There are no weather stains on 



THE POETRY. OF ARCHITECTURE. 2? 

the wall ; there is no dampness in air or earth, by which 
they could be induced ; the heat of the sun scorches away 
all lichens, and mosses, and mouldy vegetation. ISfo thatch 
or stone crop on the roof unites the building with sur- 
rounding vegetation ; all is clear, and warm, and sharp on 
the eye ; the more distant the building, the more generally 
bright it becomes, till the distant village sparkles out of 
the orange copse, or the cypress grove, with so much dis- 
tinctness as might be thought in somfc degree objectionable. 
But it must be remembered that the prevailing colour of 
Italian landscape is blue ; sky, hills, water, are equally 
azure : the olive, which forms a great proportion of the 
vegetation, is not green, but grey ; the cypress, and its 
varieties, dark and neutral, and the laurel and myrtle far 
from bright. ISTow, white, which is intolerable with green, 
is agreeable contrasted with blue ; and to this cause it must 
be ascribed that the white of the Italian building is not 
found startling or disagreeable in the landscape. That it 
is not, we believe, will be generally allowed. 

3. Elegance of feeling. We never can prevent our- 
selves from imagining that we perceive, in the graceful 
negligence of the Italian cottage, the evidence of a taste 
among the lower orders refined by the glory of their land, 
and the beauty of its remains. We have always had 
strong faith in the influence of climate on the mind, and 
feel strongly tempted to discuss the subject at length; but 
our paper has already exceeded its proposed limits, and 
we must content ourselves with remarking what will not, 



28 THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 

we think, be disputed, that the eye, by constantly resting 
either on natural scenery of noble tone and character, or 
on the architectural remains of classical beauty, must con- 
tract a habit of feeling correctly and tastefully; the 
linfluence of which, we think, is seen in the style of 
edifices the most modern and the most humble. 

Lastly, Dilapidation. We have just used the term 
" graceful negligence : " whether it be graceful, or not, is 
a matter of taste ; but the uncomfortable and ruinous dis- 
order and dilapidation of the Italian cottage is one of 
observation. The splendour of the climate requires 
nothing more than shade from the sun, and occasionally 
shelter from a violent storm : the outer arcade affords 
them both : it becomes the nightly lounge and daily dor- 
mitory of its inhabitant, and the interior is abandoned to 
filth and decay. Indolence watches the tooth of Time 
with careless eye and nerveless hand. Eeligion, or its 
abuse, reduces every individual of the population to utter 
inactivity three days out of the seven; and the habits 
formed in the tliree regulate the four. Abject poverty 
takes away the power, while brutish sloth weakens the 
will; and the filthy habits of the Italian prevent him 
from suffering from the state to which he is reduced. The 
shattered roofs, the dark, confused, ragged windows, the 
obscure chambers, the tattered and dirty draperies, alto- 
gether present a picture which, seen too near, is sometimes 
revolting to the eye, always melancholy to the mind. Yet 
even this many would not wish to be otherwise. The 



THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 29 

prosperity of nations, as of individuals, is cold, and hard- 
hearted, and forgetful. The dead die, indeed, trampled 
down by the crowd of the living ; the place thereof shall 
know them no more, for that place is not in the hearts of 
the survivors for whose interest they have made way. But 
adversity and ruin point to the sepulchre, and it is not 
trodden on ; to the chronicle, and it doth not decay. Who 
would substitute the rush of a new nation, the struggle of 
an awakening power, for the dreamy sleep of Italy's deso- 
lation, for her sweet silence of melancholy thought, her 
twilight time of everlasting memories ? 

Such, we think, are the principal distinctive attributes 
of the Italian cottage. Let it not be thought that we are 
wasting time in the contemplation of its beauties ; even 
though they are of a kind which the architect can never 
imitate, because he has no command over time, and no 
choice of situation ; and which he ought not to imitate, 
if he could, because they are only locally desirable or 
admirable. Our object, let it always be remembered, is 
not the attainment of architectural data, but the forma 
tion of taste. 
. October 12, 1837. 



III. The Mountain Cottage. Switzerland. 

IN the three instances of the lowland cottage which 
have been already considered, are included the chief 



SO THE POETRY (XF ARCHITECT FEE. 

peculiarities of style which are interesting or important, 
I have not, it is true, spoken of the carved oaken gable 
and shadowy roof of the Norman village ; of the black 
crossed rafters and fantastic projections which delight 
the eyes of the German ; nor of the Moorish arches and 
confused galleries which mingle so magnificently with the 
inimitable fretwork of the grey temples of the Spaniard. 
But these are not peculiarities solely belonging to the cot- 
tage : they are found in buildings of a higher order, and 
seldom, unless where they are combined with other fea- 
tures. They are therefore rather to be considered, in 
future, as elements of street effect, than, now, as the pecu- 
liarities of independent buildings. My remarks on the 
Italian, cottage might, indeed, be applied, were it not for 
the constant presence of Moorish feeling, to that of Spain. 
The architecture of the two nations is intimately con- 
nected : modified, in Italy, by the taste of the Eoman ; 
and, in Spain, by the fanciful creations of the Moor. 
"When I am considering the fortress and the palace, I 
shall be compelled to devote a very large share of my at- 
tention to Spain ; but, for characteristic examples of the 
cottage, I turn rather to Switzerland and England. Pre- 
paratory, therefore, to a few general remarks on modern 
ornamental cottages, it will be instructive to observe the 
peculiarities of two varieties of the mountain cottage, 
diametrically opposite to each other in most of their fea- 
tures; one always beautiful, and the other frequently so. 
First, for Helvetia. Well do I remember the thrilling 



THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 31 

and exquisite moment when first, first in my life (which 
had not been over long), I encountered, in a calm and 
shadowy dingle, darkened with the thick spreading of tall 
pines, and voiceful with the singing of a rock-encumbered 
stream, and passing up towards the flank of a smooth 
green mountain, whose swarded summit shone in the sum- 
mer snow like an emerald set in silver ; when, I say, I 
first encountered in this calm defile of the Jura, the un- 
obtrusive, yet beautiful, front of the Swiss cottage. I 
thought it the loveliest piece of architecture I had ever 
had the felicity of contemplating ; yet it was nothing in 
itself, nothing but a few mossy fir trunks, loosely nailed 
together, with one or two grey stones on the roof : but its 
power was the power of association ; its beauty, that of 
fitness and humility. 

How different is this from what modem architects 
erect, when they attempt to produce what is, by courtesy, 
called a Swiss cottage. The modern building known in 
Britain by that name has very long chimneys (see Fig. 2), 
covered with various exceedingly in- Fi 

genious devices for the convenient re- 
ception and hospitable entertainment 
of soot, supposed by the innocent and 
deluded proprietor to be " meant for 
ornament." Its gable roof slopes at 
an acute angle, and terminates in an 
interesting and romantic manner, at 
each extremity, in a tooth-pick. Its 




32 THE POETRY OF ARCEITECTUJRE. 

walls are very precisely and prettily plastered; and it ie 
rendered quite complete by the addition of two neat little 
bow-windows, supported on neat little mahogany brackets, 
full of neat little squares of red and yellow glass. Its 
door is approached under a neat little veranda, " uncom- 
mon green," and is flanked on each side by a neat little 
round table, with all its legs of different lengths, and by a 
variety of neat little wooden chairs, all very peculiarly 
uncomfortable, and amazingly full of earwigs : the whole 
being surrounded by a garden full of flints, burnt bricks, 
and cinders, with some water in the middle, and a foun- 
tain in the middle of it, which won't play ; accompanied 
by some goldfish, which won't swim; and by two or 
three ducks, which will splash. INow, I am excessively 
sorry to inform the members of any respectable English 
family, who are making themselves uncomfortable in one" 
of these ingenious conceptions, under the idea that they 
are living in a Swiss cottage, that they labour under a 
melancholy deception ; and shall now proceed to investi- 
gate the peculiarities of the real building. 

The life of a Swiss peasant is divided into two periods ; 
that in which he is watching his cattle at their summer 
pasture on the high Alps,* and that in which he seeks 
shelter from the violence of the winter storms in the most 
retired parts of the low valleys. During the first period, 

* I use the word Alp here, and in future, in its proper sense, of a 
high mountain pasture ; not in its secondary sense, of a mowy peak. 




THE POETRY OF AECHITEOTUEE. 33 

lie requires cnly occasional shelter from storms of exces- 
sive violence; during the latter, a sufficient protection 
from continued inclement weather. The Alpine or sum- 
mer cottage, therefore, is a rude log hut, formed of nn- 
squared pine trunks, notched into each nig. $ 

other at the corners (see Fig. 8.). The 
roof, being excessively flat, so as to offer 
no surface to the wind, is covered with 
fragments of any stone that will split 
easily, held on by crossing logs ; which are, in their turn, 
kept down by masses of stone ; the whole being generally 
sheltered behind some protecting rock, or resting against 
the slope of the mountain, so that, from one side, you 
may step upon the roof. This is the chalet. When well 
grouped, running along a slope of mountain side, these 
huts produce a very pleasing effect, being never obtrusive 
(owing to the prevailing greyness of their tone), uniting 
well with surrounding objects, and bestowing at once ani- 
mation and character. 

But the winter residence, the Swiss cottage, properly so 
called, is a much more elaborate piece of workmanship. 
The principal requisite is, of course, strength ; and this 
is always observable in the large size of the timbers, and 
the ingenious manner in which they are joined, so as tc 
support and relieve each other, when any of them are 
severely tried. The roof is always very flat, generally 
meeting at an angle of 155, and projecting from 5 ft. to 
7 ft. over the cottage side, in order to prevent the windows 



34 THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 

from being thoroughly clogged up with snow. That this 
projection may not be crushed down by the enormous 
weight of snow which it must sometimes sustain, it is as- 

Fig. 4. 




sisted by strong wooden supports (seen in Figs. 4: and 5), 
which sometimes extend half down the walls for the sake 
of strength, divide the side into regular compartments, 



THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 35 

and are rendered ornamental by grotesque carving. Every 
canton has its own window. That of Uri, with its dia- 
mond wood-work at the bottom, is, perhaps, one of the 
richest. (See Fig. 5.) Tie galleries are generally ren- 
dered ornamental by a great deal of labour bestowed 
upon their wood-work. This is best executed in the 
canton of Berne. The door is always 6 or 7 feet from the 
ground, and occasionally much more, that it may be acces- 
sible in snow ; and it is reached by an oblique gallery, 
leading up to a horizontal one, as shown in Fig. 4. TLe 
base of the cottage is formed of stone, generally white- 
washed. The chimneys must have a chapter to them- 
selves : they are splendid examples of utility combined 
with ornament. 

Such are the chief characteristics of the Swiss cottage, 
separately considered. I must now take notice of its 
effect in scenery. 

When one has been wandering for a whole morning 
through a valley of perfect silence, where everything 
around, which is motionless, is colossal, and everything 
which has motion resistless ; where the strength and the 
glory of nature are principally developed in the very 
forces which feed upon her majesty; and where, in the 
midst of mightiness, which seems imperishable, all that is 
indeed eternal is the influence of desolation ; one is apt to 
be surprised, and by no means agreeably, to find, crouched 
behind some projecting rock, a piece of architecture which 
is neat in the extreme, though in the midst of wildness, 



36 THE POETEY OF ARCHITECTITEE. 

weak in the midst of strength, contemptible in the midst of 
immensity. There is something offensive in its neatness : 
for the wood is almost always perfectly clean, and looks as 
if it had been just cut; it is consequently raw in its colour, 
and destitute of all variety of tone. This is especially dis- 
agreeable when the eye has been previously accustomed to, 
and finds, everywhere around, the exquisite mingling of 
colour, and confused, though perpetually graceful, forms, 
by which the details of mountain scenery are peculiarly 
distinguished. Every fragment of rock is finished in its 
effect, tinted with thousands of pale lichens and fresh 
mosses ; every pine trunk is warm with the life of various 
vegetation ; every grassy bank glowing with mellowed 
colour, and waving with delicate leafage. How, then, 
can the contrast be otherwise than painful, between this 
perfect loveliness, and the dead, raw, lifeless surface of 
the deal boards of the cottage. Its weakness is pitiable ; 
for though there is always evidence of considerable strength 
on close examination, there is no effect of strength : the 
real thickness of the logs is concealed by the cutting and, 
carving of their exposed surfaces ; and even what is seen 
is felt to be so utterly contemptible, when opposed to the 
destructive forces which are in operation around, that the 
feelings are irritated at the imagined audacity of the inan- 
imate object, with the self-conceit of its impotence ; and, 
finally, the eye is offended at its want of size. It does not, 
as might be at first supposed, enhance the sublimity of sur- 
rounding scenery by its littleness, for it provokes no com 



THE POETRY OF AECIIITECTUEE. 37 

parison ; and there must be proportion between objects, or 
they cannot be compared. If the Parthenon, or the Pyra- 
mid of Cheops, or St. Peter's, were placed in the same situ- 
ation, the mind would first form a just estimate of the mag- 
nificence of the building, and then be trebly impressed 
with the size of the masses which overwhelmed it The 
architecture would not lose, and the crags would gain, by the 
juxtaposition ; but the cottage, which must be felt to be 
a thing which the weakest stream of the Alps could toss 
down before it like a foam globe, is offensively contempti- 
ble ; it is like a child's toy let fall accidentally on the hill- 
side ; it does not unite with the scene ; it is not content to 
sink into a quiet corner, and personify humility and peace; 
but draws attention upon itself by its pretension, to de- 
coration, while its decorations themselves cannot bear 
examination, because they are useless, unmeaning, and 
incongruous. 

So much for its faults ; and I have had no mercy upon 
them, the rather, because I am always afraid of being 
biassed in its favour by my excessive love for its sweet 
nationality. Now for its beauties. Wherever it is found, 
it always suggests ideas of a gentle, pure, and pastoral 
life. One feels that the peasants whose hands carved the 
planks so neatly, and adorned their cottage so industri- 
ously, and still preserve it so perfectly, and so neatly, can 
be no dull, drunken, lazy boors : one feels, also, that it re- 
quires both firm resolution, and determined industry, tc 
maintain so successful a struggle against " the crush oi 



38 THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 

thunder, and the warring winds." Sweet ideas float over 
the imagination of such passages of peasant' life as the 
gentle Walton so loved; of the full milkpail, and the 
mantling cream-bowl ; of the evening dance, and the matin 
song ; of the herdsmen on the Alps, of the maidens by 
the fountain ; of all that is peculiarly and indisputably 
Swiss. For the cottage is beautifully national ; there is 
nothing to be found the least like it in any other country. 
The moment a glimpse is caught of its projecting galleries, 
one knows that it is the land of Tell and Winkelried ; and 
the traveller, feels that, were he indeed Swiss-born, and 
Alp-bred, a bit of that carved plank, meeting his eye in a 
foreign land, would be as effectual as a note of the Hanz 
des Vaches upon the ear. Again, when a number of these 
cottages are grouped together, they break upon each 
other's formality, and form a mass of fantastic projection, 
of carved window and overhanging roof, full of character, 
and picturesque in the extreme : an excellent example of 
this is the Bernese village of Unterseen. Again, when the 
ornament is not very elaborate, yet enough to preserve the 
character, and the cottage is old, and not very well kept 
(suppose in a Catholic canton), and a little rotten, the 
effect is beautiful : the timber becomes weather-stained, 
and of a fine warm brown, harmonising delightfully with 
the" grey stones on the 1'oof, and the dark green of sur- 
rounding pines. If it be fortunate enough to be situated 
in some quiet glen, out of sight of the gigantic features of 
the scene, and surrounded with cliffs to which it beara 



THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 39 

some proportion ; and if it be partially concealed, not in- 
truding on the eye, but well united with everything 
around, it becomes altogether perfect ; humble, beautiful, 
and interesting. Perhaps no cottage can then be found to 
equal it ; and none can be more finished in effect, grace- 
ful in detail, and characteristic as a whole. 

The ornaments employed in the decoration of the Swiss 
cottage do not demand much attention : they are usually 
formed in a most simple manner, by thin laths, which are 
carved into any fanciful form, or in which rows of holes 
are cut, generally diamond-shaped; and they are then 
nailed one above another, to give the carving depth. 
Pinnacles are never raised on the roof, though carved 
spikes are occasionally suspended from it at the angles. 
No ornamental work is ever employed to disguise the 
beams of the projecting part of the roof, nor does any rim 
along its edges. The galleries, in the canton of TJri, are 
occasionally supported on arched beams, as shown in Fig. 
5, which have a very pleasing effect. 

Of the adaptation of the building to climate and char- 
acter, little can be said. When I called it " national," I 
meant only that it was quite sui generis, and, therefore, 
being only found in Switzerland, might be considered as 
a national building ; though it has none of the mysterious 
connexion with the mind of its inhabitants which is evi- 
dent in all really fine edifices. But there is a reason for 
this : Switzerland has no climate, properly speaking, but 
an assemblage of every climate, from Italy to the pole ; 



4:0 



THE POETRY OF ABCHITECTtTKE. 



the vine wild in its valleys, the ice eternal on its crags. 
The Swiss themselves are what we might have expected in 
persons dwelling in such a climate : they have no charac- 



Fig. 5. 




ter. The sluggish nature of the air of the valleys has a 
malignant operation on the mind; and even the moun- 
taineers, though generally shrewd and intellectual, have 



THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. -4-1 

no perceptible nationality : they have no language, except 
a mixture of Italian and bad German ; they have no pecu- 
liar turn of mind; they might be taken as easily for 
Germans as for Swiss. lSTo correspondence, consequently, 
can exist between national architecture and national 
character, where the latter is not distinguishable. Gene- 
rally speaking, then, the Swiss cottage cannot be said to 
be built in good taste; but it is occasionally picturesque, 
frequently pleasing, and under a favourable concurrence 
of circumstances, beautiful. It is not, however, a tiling 
to be- imitated : it is always, when out of its own country, 
incongruous ; it never harmonises with anything around it, 
and can therefore be employed only in mimicry of what 
does not exist, not in improvement of what does. I mean, 
that any one who has on his estate a dingle shaded with 
larches or pines, with a rapid stream, may manufacture a 
bit of Switzerland as a toy ; but such imitations are al- 
ways contemptible, and he cannot use the Swiss cottage in 
any other way. A modified form of it, however, as will 
be hereafter shown, may be employed with advantage. I 
hope, in my next paper, to derive more satisfaction from 
the contemplation of the mountain cottage of Westmore- 
land, than I have been able to obtain from that of the 
Swiss. 



42 THE POETRY 01T ARCHITECTURE. 

IY. The Mountain Cottage. Westmoreland. 

WHEN I devoted so much time to the consideration of 
the peculiarities of the Swiss cottage, I did not previously 
endeavour to ascertain what the mind, influenced by the 
feelings excited by the nature of its situation, would be 
induced to expect, or disposed to admire. I thus deviated 
from the general rule which I hope to be able to follow 
out ; but I did so only because the subject of consideration 
was incapable of fulfilling the expectation when excited, 
or corresponding with the conception when formed. But 
now, in order to appreciate the beauty of the Westmore- 
land cottage, it will be necessary to fix upon a standard of 
excellence, with which it may be compared. 

One of the principal charms of mountain scenery is its 
solitude. Now, just as silence is never perfect or deep 
without motion, solitude is never perfect without some 
vestige of life. Even desolation is not felt to be utter, un- 
less in some slight degree interrupted : unless the cricket 
is chirping on the lonely hearth, or the vulture soaring 
over the field of corpses, or the one mourner lamenting over 
the red ruins of the devasted village, that devastation is 
not felt to be complete. The anathema of the prophet 
does not wholly leave the curse of loneliness upon the 
mighty city, until he tells us that u the satyr shall dance 
there." And, if desolation, which is the destruction of 
life, cannot leave its impression perfect without some in- 
terrupti >n, much less can solitude, which is only the ab- 



THE POETEY OF ARCHITECTURE. 4 

sence of life, be felt without some contrast. Accordingly, 
it is, perhaps, never so perfect as when a populous and 
highly cultivated plain, immediately beneath, is visible 
through the rugged ravines, or over the cloudy summits 
of some tall, vast, and voiceless mountain. When such a 
prospect is not attainable, one of the chief uses of the 
mountain cottage, paradoxical as the idea may appear, is 
to increase this sense of solitude. Now, as it will only do 
so when it is seen at a considerable distance, it is neces- 
sary that it should be visible, or, at least, that its presence 
should be indicated, over a considerable portion of sur- 
rounding space. It must not, therefore, be too much 
shaded with trees, or it will be useless ; but if, on the con- 
trary, it be too conspicuous on the open hill side, it will be 
liable to most of the objectiors which were advanced 
against the Swiss cottage, and to another, which was not 
then noticed. Anything which, to the eye, is split into 
parts, appears less as a whole than what is undivided. 
Now, a considerable mass, of whatever tone or colour it 
may consist, is as easily divisible by dots as by lines ; that 
is, a conspicuous point, on any part of its surface, will di 
vide it into two portions, each of which will be individu- 
ally measured by the eye, but which will never the make 
the impression which they would have made had their 
unity not been interrupted. A conspicuous cottage on a 
distant mountain side has this effect in a fatal degree, and 
is, therefore, always intolerable. It should accordingly, 
in order to reconcile the attainment of the good, with the 



44 THE POETEY OF ARCHITECTURE. 

avoidance of the evil, be barely visible : it should not tell 
as a cottage on the eye, though it should on the mii.d ; for 
be it observed that if it is only by the closest investigation 
that we can ascertain it to be a human habitation, it will 
answer the purpose of increasing the solitude quite as well 
as if it were evidently so ; because this impression is pro- 
duced by its appeal to the thoughts, not by its effect on 
the eye. Its colour, therefore, should be as nearly as pos- 
sible that of the hill on which, or the crag beneath which, 
it is placed : its form, one that will incorporate well with 
the ground, and approach that of a large stone more than 
of anything else. The colour will consequently, if this 
rule be followed, be subdued and greyish, but rather 
warm ; and the form simple, graceful, and unpretending. 
The building should retain the same general character on 
a closer examination. Everything about it should be na- 
tural, and should appear as if the influences and forces 
which were in operation around it had been too strong to 
be resisted, and had rendered all efforts of art to check 
their power, or conceal the evidence of their action, en- 
tirely unavailing. It cannot but be an alien child of the 
mountains ; but it must show that it has been adopted and 
cherished by them. This effect is only attainable by great 
ease of outline and variety of colour ; peculiarities which, 
as will be presently seen, the "Westmoreland cottage pos- 
sesses in a supereminent degree. 

Another feeling, with which one is impressed during a 
mountain ramble, is humility. I found fault with the in- 



THE POERTY OF ^RGETTECTIJRE. 45 

significance of the Swiss cottage, because "it was not con- 
tent to sink into a quiet corner, and personify humility." 
Now, had it not been seen to be pretending, it would not 
have been felt to be insignificant; for the feelings would 
have been gratified with its submission to, and retirement 
from, the majesty of the destructive influences which it 
rather seemed to rise up against in mockery. Such pre- 
tension is especially to be avoided in the mountain cot- 
tage : it can never lie too humbly in the pastures of the 
valley, nor shrink too submissively into the hollows of 
the hills; it should seem to be asking the storm for 
mercy, and the mountain for protection ; and should ap- 
pear to owe to its weakness, rather than to its strength, 
that it is neither overwhelmed by the one, nor crushed by 
the other. 

Such are the chief attributes, without which a moun- 
tain cottage cannot be said to be beautiful. It may 
possess others, which are desirable or objectionable, 
according to their situation, or other accidental circum- 
stances. The nature of these will be best understood by 
examining an individual building. The material is, of 
course, what is most easily attainable and available with- 
out much labour. The Cumberland and Westmoreland 
hills are, in general, composed of clay-slate and grey- 
wacke, with occasional masses of chert (like that which 
forms the summit of Sea wf ell), porphyritic greenstone, 
and syenite. The chert decomposes deeply, and assumes 
a rough, brown, granular surface, deeply worn and fur* 



46 THE POERTY OF ARCHITECTURE. 

rowed. The clay-slate and greywacke, as it is shattered 
by frost, and carried down by the torrents, of course 
forms itself into irregular flattish masses. The splintery 
edges of these are in some degree worn off by the action 
of water ; and, slight decomposition taking place on the 
surface of the clay-slate furnishes an aluminous soil, 
which is immediately taken advantage of by innumerable 
lichens, which change the dark grey of the original sub- 
stance into an infinite variety of pale and warm colours. 
These stones, thus shaped to his hand, are the most con- 
venient building materials the peasant can obtain. He 
lays his foundation and strengthens his angles with large 
masses, filling up the intervals with pieces of a more 
moderate size ; and using here and there a little cement 
to bind the whole together, and to keep the wind from 
getting through the interstices ; but never enough to fill 
them altogether up, or to render the face of the wall 
smooth. At intervals of from 4 ft. to 6 ft. a horizontal 
line of flat and broad fragments is introduced projecting 
about a foot from the wall. "Whether this is supposed to 
give strength, I know not; but, as it is invariably 
covered by luxuriant stonecrop, it is always a delightful 
object. 

The door is flanked and roofed by three large oblong 
sheets of grey rock, whose form seeins not to be consid- 
ered of the slightest consequence. Those which form 
the cheeks of the window (Fig. 6), are generally selected 
with more care from the debris of some rock, which is 



TJIE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 



Fig. 6. 




naturally smooth and polished, after being subjected to 
the weather, such as granite or syenite. The window 
itself is narrow and deep set : in the better sort of cot- 
tages, latticed, but with no affectation of sweetbriar or 
eglantine about it. It 
may be observed of the 
whole of the cottage, 
that, though all is beau- 
tiful, nothing is pretty. 
The roof is rather flat, 
and covered with heavy 
fragments of the stone 
of which the walls are 
built, originally very loose ; but generally cemented by 
accumulated soil, and bound together by houseleek, moss, 
and stonecrop : brilliant in colour, and singular in abun- 
dance. The form of the larger cottages, being frequently 
that of a cross, would hurt the eye by the sharp angles of 
the roof, were it not for the cushion-like vegetation with 
which they are rounded and concealed. Varieties of the 
fern sometimes relieve the massy forms of the stonecrop, 
with their light and delicate leafage. Windows in the 
roof are seldom met with. Of the chimney I shall 
speak hereafter. 

Such are the prevailing peculiarities of the Westmore- 
land cottage. " Is this all ? " some one will exclaim : " a 
hovel, built of what first comes to hand, and in the most 
simple and convenient form ; not one thought of archi- 



48 THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 

tectural beauty ever coming into the builder's head!" 
Even so, to this illustration of an excellent rule, I wished 
particularly to direct attention ; that the material which 
Nature furnishes, in any given country, and the form 
which she suggests, will always render the building the 
most beautiful, .because the most appropriate. Observe 
how perfectly this cottage fulfils the conditions which 
were before ascertained to be necessary to perfection. 
Its colour is that of the ground on which it stands, always 
subdued and grey, but exquisitely rich, the colour being 
disposed crumblingly, in groups of shadowy spots ; a 
deep red brown, passing into black, being finely contrast- 
ed with the pale yellow of the Lichen geographicus, and 
the subdued white of another lichen, whose name I do 
not know ; all mingling with each other as on a native 
rock, and with the same beautiful effect : the mass, con- 
sequently, at a distance, tells only as a large stone 
would, the simplicity of its form contributing still farther 
to- render it inconspicuous. When placed on a mountain 
side, such a cottage will become a point of interest, 
which will relieve its monotony, but will never cut the 
hill in two, or take away from its size. In the valley, the 
colour of these cottages agrees with everything: the 
green light which trembles through the leafage of the 
taller trees, falls with exquisite effect on the rich grey of 
the ancient roofs ; the deep pool of clear water is not 
startled from its peace by their reflection ; the ivy or the 
creepers, to which the superior wealth of the peasant 



THE POETKY OF ARCHITECTURE. 4:9 

of the valley does now and then pretend, in opposi- 
tion to the general custom, cling gracefully and easily 
to its innumerable crevices and rock, lake, and meadow 
seem to hail it with a brotherly affection, as if Nature 
had taken as much pains with it as she has with them. 

Again, observe its ease of outline. There is not a 
single straight line to be met with from foundation to 
roof, all is bending or broken. The form of every stone 
stone in its walls is a study ; for, owing to the infinite 
delicacy of structure in all minerals, a piece of stone 3 in. 
in diameter, irregularly fractured, and a little -worn by the 
weather, has precisely the same character of outline which 
we should find and admire in a mountain of the same ma- 
terial 6,000 ft. high ; and, therefore, the eye, though not 
feeling the cause, rests on every cranny, and crack, and 
fissure with delight. It is' true that we have no idea that 
every small projection, if of chert, has such an outline as 
Scawfell's ; if of greywacke, as Skidaw's ; or if of slate, 
as Helvellyn's ; but their combinations of form are, never- 
theless, felt to be exquisite, and we dwell upon every 
bend of the rough roof, and every hollow of the loose 
wall, feeling it to be a design which no architect on earth 
could ever equal, sculptured by a chisel of unimaginable 
delicacy, and finished to a degree of perfection, which is 
unnoticed only because it is everywhere. 

This ease and irregularity is peculiarly delightful here 
gracefulness and freedom of outline and detail are, as 

they always are in mountain countries, the chief charac- 
3 



50 THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 

teristics of every scene. It is well that, where every 
plant is wild and every torrent free, every field irregu- 
lar in its form, every knoll various in its outline, one 
is not startled by well-built walls, or unyielding roofs, but 
is permitted to trace in the stones of the peasant's dwell- 
ing, as in the crags of the mountain side, no evidence of 
the line or the mallet, but the operation of eternal influ- 
ences, the presence of an Almighty hand. Another per- 
fection connected witli its ease of outline is, its severity of 
character : there is no foppery about it ; not the slightest 
effort at any kind of ornament, but what nature chooses to 
bestow ; it wears all its decorations wildly, covering its 
nakedness, not with what the peasant may plant, but with 
what the winds may bring. There is no gay colour or neat- 
ness about it ; no green shutters or other abomination : all is 
calm and quiet, and severe, as the mind of a philosopher, 
and, withal, a little sombre. It is evidently old, and has 
stood many trials in its day ; and the snow, and the tem- 
pest, and the torrent, have all spared it, and left it in its 
peace, with its grey head unbowed, and its early strength 
unbroken, even though the spirit of decay seems creep- 
ing, like the inoss and the lichen, through the darkness 
of its crannies. This venerable and slightly melancholy 
character is the very soul of all its beauty. 

There remains only one point to be noticed, its humility. 
This was before stated to be desirable, and it will here be 
found in perfection. The building draws as little atten- 
tion upon itself as possible ; since, with all the praise I 



THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 51 

have bostowed upon it, it possesses not one point of 
beauty in which it is not equalled or excelled by every 
stone at the side of the road. It is small in size, simple 
in form, subdued in tone, easily concealed or over- 
shadowed ; often actually so ; and one is always delighted 
and surprised to find that what courts attention so little 
is capable of sustaining it so well. Yet it has no appear- 
ance of weakness : it is stoutly, though rudely, built ; and 
one ceases to fear for its sake the violence of surrounding 
which, it may be seen, will be partly resisted by its 
strength, and which we feel will be partly deprecated by 
its humility. Such is the mountain cottage of Westmore- 
land ; and such, with occasional varieties, are many of 
the mountain cottages of England and Wales. It is true 
that my memory rests with peculiar pleasure in a certain 
quiet valley near Eirkstone, little known to the general 
tourist, distant from any public track, and, therefore, free 
from all the horrors of improvement ; in which it seemed 
to me that the architecture of the cottage had attained a 
peculiar degree of perfection. But I think that this im- 
pression was rather produced by a few seemingly insignifi- 
cant accompanying circumstances, than by any distin- 
guished beauty of design in the cottages themselves. Their 
inhabitants were evidently poor, and apparently had not 
repaired their dwellings since their first erection ; and 
certainly, had never torn one tuft of moss or fern from 
roofs or walls which were green with the rich vegetation 
of years. The valley was narrow, and quiet, and deep 



52 THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 

and shaded by reverend trees, among whose trunks the 
grey cottages looked out, with a perfection "of effect which 
I never remember to have seen equalled, though I believe 
that, in many of the mountain districts of Britain, the 
peasant's domicile is erected with equal good taste. 1 
have always rejoiced in the thought, that our native high* 
land scenery, though, perhaps, wanting in sublimity, is 
distinguished by a delicate finish in its details, and by a 
unanimity and propriety of feeling in the works of its 
inhabitants, which are elsewhere looked for in vain ; and 
the reason of this is evident. The mind of the inhabitant 
of the continent, in general, is capable of deeper and 
finer sensations than that of the islander. It is higher in 
its aspirations, purer in its passions, wilder in its dreams, 
and fiercer in its anger ; but it is wanting in gentleness, 
and in its simplicity ; naturally desirous of excitement, 
and incapable of experiencing, in equal degree, the calmer 
flow of human felicity, the stillness of domestic peace, and 
the pleasures of the humble hearth, consisting in every- 
day duties performed, and every-day mercies received ; 
consequently, in the higher walks of architecture, where 
the mind is to be impressed or elevated, we never have 
equalled, and we never shall equal, them. It will be seen 
hereafter, when we leave the lowly valley for the torn ra- 
vine, and the grassy knoll for the ribbed precipice, that, 
if the continental architects cannot adorn the pasture with 
the humble roof, they can crest the crag with eternal bat- 
tlements ; if they cannot minister to a landscape's peace. 



THE POETEY OF ARCHITECT UEE. 53 

they can add to its terror ; and it has been already seen, 
that, in the lowland cottages of France and Italy, where 
high and refined feelings were to be induced, where mel- 
ancholy was to be excited, or majesty bestowed, the archi- 
tect was successful, and his labor was perfect : but now^ 
nothing is required but humility and gentleness; and this, 
which he does not feel, he cannot give : it is contrary to 
the whole force of his character, nay, even to the spirit of 
his religion. It is unfelfc even at the time when the soul 
is most chastened and subdued; for the epitaph on the 
grave is affected in its sentiment, and the tombstone gau- 
dily gilded, or wreathed with vain flowers. We cannot, 
then, be surprised at the effort at ornament and other fan- . 
cied architectural beauties, which injure the effect of the 
more peaceful mountain scenery abroad; but still less 
should we be surprised at the perfect propriety which 
prevails in the same kind of scenery at home ; for the 
error which is there induced by one mental deficiency, 
is here prevented by another. The uncultivated moun- 
taineer of Cumberland has no taste, and no idea of 
what architecture means: he never thinks of what is 
right, or what is beautiful, but he builds what is most 
adapted to his purposes, and most easily erected: by 
suiting the building to the uses of his own life, he gives 
it humility ; and, by raising it with the nearest material, 
adapts it to its situation. This is all that is required, and 
he has no credit in fulfilling the requirement, since the 
moment he begins to think of effect, he commits a baj 



54 THE POETRY OF ASOHITECTUEE. 

barism by whitewashing the whole. The cottages of 
Cumberland would suffer much by this piece of improve- 
ment, were it not for the salutary operation of mountain 
rains and mountain winds. 

So much for the hill dwellings of our own country. I 
think the examination of the five examples of the cottage 
which I have given have furnished all the general princi- 
ples which are important or worthy of consideration ; and I 
shall therefore devote no more time to the contemplation 
of individual buildings. But, before I leave the cottage 
altogether, it will be necessary to notice a part of the 
building which I have in the separate instances purposely 
avoided mentioning, that I might have the advantage of 
immediate comparison ; a part exceedingly important, ?ind 
which seems to have been essential to the palace as well as 
to the cottage, ever since the time when Perdiccas received 
his significant gift of the sun from his Macedonian master 
Trepirypd^fra? rbv TI\LOV^ 05 fy tear a TTJV /caTrvo&o/c'qv e? TOP 
ol/cov etre^octv ; and then I shall conclude the subject by > 
few general remarks on modern ornamental cottages, illus- 
trative of the principle so admirably developed in the 
beauty of the Westmoreland building, to which, it must be 
remembered, the palm was assigned, in preference to the 
Switzer's ; not because it was more laboured, but because 
it was more natural. 

Oxford, Jan. 1838. 



THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 55 

V. A Chapter on Chimneys. 

IT appears from the passage in Herodotus, which we al- 
luded to in the last paper, that there has been a time even 
in the most civilised countries, when the king's palace was 
entirely unfurnished with anything having the slightest 
pretension to the dignity of chimney tops : and the 
savoury vapors which were wont to arise from the hospi- 
tahle hearth, at which the queen or princess prepared the 
feast with the whitest of hands, escaped with indecorous 
facility through a simple hole in the flat roof. The dignity 
of smoke, however, is now better understood, and it is dis- 
missed through Gothic pinnacles, and (as at Burleigh 
House) through Tuscan columns, with a most praiseworthy 
regard to its comfort and convenience. Let us consider if 
it is worth the trouble. We advanced a position in the 
last paper, that silence is never perfect without motion, that 
is, unless something which might possibly produce sound, 
is evident to the eye : the absence of sound is not surpris- 
ing to the ear, and, therefore, not impressive. Let it be 
observed, for instance, how much the stillness of a sum- 
mer's evening is enhanced by the perception of the glid- 
ing and majestic motion of some calm river, strong but 
still ; or of the high and purple clouds ; or of the voiceless 
leaves, among the opening branches : to produce this im- 
pression, however, the motion must be uniform, though 
not necessarily slow. One of the chief peculiarities of the 
ocean thoroughfares of Venice, is the remarkable silence 



56 THIS, POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 

which rests upon them, enhanced, as it is, by the swift, but 
beautifully uniform motion of the gondola. Now, there 
is no motion more uniform, silent, or beautiful, than that ' 
of smoke ; and, therefore, when we wish the peace or still- 
ness of a scene to be impressive, it is highly useful to draw 
the attention to it. 

In the cottage, therefore, a building peculiarly adapted 
for scenes of peace, the chimney, as conducting the eye to 
what is agreeable, may be considered an important, and, if 
well managed, a beautiful accompaniment. But in build- 
ings of a higher class, smoke ceases to be interesting. 
Owing to their general greater elevation, it is relieved 
against the sky, instead of against a dark back-ground, there- 
by losing the fine silvery blue which, among trees, or rising 
out of distant country, is so exquisitely beautiful, and assum- 
ing a dingy yellowish black : its motion becomes useless ; 
for the idea of stillness is no longer desirable, or, at least, 
no longer attainable, being interrupted by the nature of the 
building itself : and, finally, the associations it arouses are 
not dignified ; we may think of a comfortable fireside, per- 
haps, but are quite as likely to dream of kitchens, and 
spits, and shoulders of mutton. None of these imagina- 
tions are in their place, if the character of the building be 
elevated ; they are barely tolerable in the dwelling-house 
and the street. Now, when smoke is objectionable, it is 
certainly improper to direct attention to the chimney ; and, 
therefore, for two weighty reasons, decorated chimneys, of 
any sort or size whatsoever, are inexcusable barbarisms j 



THE POETEY OF AECHITECTUKE. 57 

first, because, where smoke is beautiful, decoration is mi- 
suited to tlie building; and, secondly, because, where 
smoke is ugly, decoration directs attention to its ugliness. 
It is unfortunately a prevailing idea with some of 0111 
architects, that what is a disagreeable object in itself may 
be relieved or concealed by lavish ornament ; and there 
never was a greater mistake. It should be a general prin- 
ciple, that what is intrinsically ugly should be utterly des- 
titute of ornament, that the eye may not be drawn to it. 
The pretended skulls of the three Magi at Cologne are set in 
gold, and have a diamond in each eye; and are a thousand 
times more ghastly than if their brown bones had been 
left in peace. Such an error as this ought never to be 
committed in architecture. If any part of the building 
has disagreeable associations connected with it, let it alone : 
do not ornament it ; keep it subdued, and simply adapted 
to its use ; and the eye will not go to it, nor quarrel with 
it. It would have been well if this principle had been 
kept in view in the renewal of .some of the public build- 
ings ILL Oxford. In All Souls College, for instance, the 
architect has carried his chimneys half as high as all the rest 
of the building, and fretted them with Gothic. The eye 
is instantly caught by the plated-candlestick-like columns, 
and runs with some complacency up the groining and fret- 
work, and alights finally and fatally on a red chimney top. 
He might as well hare built a Gothic aisle at an entrance 
to a coal wharf. "We have no scruple in saying that the 
man who could desecrate the Gothic trefoil into an orna- 



58 THE POETRY OF AECHITECTUEE. 

ment for a chimney lias not the slightest feeling, and 
never will have any, of its beauty or its use ; he was never 
born to be an architect, and never will be one. 

Now, if chimneys are not to be decorated (since their ex- 
istence is necessary), it becomes an object of some import- 
ance to know what is to be done with them : and we enter 
into the enquiry before leaving the cottage, as in its most 
proper place; because, in the cottage, and only in the cot- 
tage, it is desirable to direct attention to smoke. 

Speculation, however, on the beau-ideal of a chimney 
can never be unshackled; because, though we maj 
imagine what it ought to be, we can never tell, until 
the house is built, what it must be ; we may require it 
to be short, and find that it will smoke, unless it is long ; 
or we may desire it to be covered, and find it will not go 
unless it is open. We can fix, therefore, on no one model ; 
but by looking over the chimneys of a few nations, we 
may deduce some general principles from their varieties, 
which may always be brought into play, by whatever cir- 
cumstances our own imaginations may be confined. 

Looking first to the mind of the people, we cannot 
expect to find good examples of the chimney, as we go to 
the south. The Italian or the Spaniard does not know 
the use of a chimney : properly speaking, they have such 
things, and they light a fire, five days in the year, chiefly 
of wood, which does not give smoke enough to teach the 
chimney its business ; but they have not the slightest idea 
of the meaning or the beauty of such things as hobs, and 



THE POETKY OF ARCHITECTURE. 59 

hearths, and Christmas blazes ; and we should, therefore, 
expect, d priori^ that there would be no soul in theii 
chimneys ; that they would have no practised substantial 
air about them ; that they would, in short, be as awkward 
and as much in the way, as individuals of the human race 
are, when they don't know what to do with themselves, or 
what they were created for. But in England, sweet car- 
bonaceous England, we flatter ourselves we do know 
something about fire, and smoke too, or our eyes have 
strangely deceived us ; and from the whole comfortable 
character and fireside disposition of the nation, we should 
conjecture that the architecture of the chimney would be 
understood, both as a matter of taste and as a matter of 
comfort, to the ne plus ultra of perfection. Let us see 
how far our expectations are realised. 

Figs. 7, 8, and 9, are English chimneys. They are 
distinguishable, we think, at a glance, from all the rest, 
by a downright serviceableness of appearance, a substan- 
tial, unaffected, decent, and chimney-like deportment, 
in the contemplation of which we experience infinite 
pleasure and edification, particularly, as it seems to us to 
be strongly contrasted with an appearance, in all the other 
chimneys of an indefinable something, only to be ex- 
pressed by the interesting word "humbug." Fig. 7 is 
a chimney of Cumberland, and the north of Lancashire. 
It is, as may be seen at a glance, only applicable at the 
extremity of the roof, and requires a bent flue. It is built 
of unhewn stones, in the same manner as the Westmore^ 



60 



THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 
FIG P. 7 to 24. 




THE POETKT OF AECIIITECTUEE. 61 

land cottages; tlie flue itself being not one-third the 
width of the chimney, as is seen at the top, where four 
flat stones placed on their edges form the termination of 
the flue itself, and give lightness of appearance to the 
whole. Cover this with a piece of paper, and observe 
how heavy and square the rest becomes. A few project- 
ing stones continue the line of the roof across the centre 
of the chimney, and two large masses support the projec- 
tion of the whole, and unite it agreeably with the wall. 
This is exclusively a cottage chimney; it cannot, and 
must not, be built of civilized materials; it must be 
rough, and mossy, and broken; but it is decidedly the 
best chimney of the whole set. It is simple and substan- 
tial, without being cumbrous ; it gives great variety to the 
wall from which it projects, terminates the roof agreeably, 
and dismisses its smoke with infinite propriety. 

Fig. 8 is a chimney common over the whole of the 
north of England; being, as I think, one that will go 
well in almost any wind, and is applicable at" any part of 
the roof. It is also roughly built, consisting of a roof of 
loose stones, sometimes one large flat slab, supported 
above the flue by four large supports, each of a single 
stone. It is father light in its appearance, and breaks the 
ridge of a roof very agreeably. Separately considered, 
it is badly proportioned ; but, as it just equals the height 
to which a long chimney at the extremity of the building 
\vould rise above the roof (as in Fig. 7) it is quite right 
in situ, and would be ungainly if it were higher. The 



62 THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 

upper part is always dark, owing to the smoke, and tells 
agreeably against any background seen through the 
hollow. 

Fig. 9 is the chimney of the Westmoreland cottage 
which formed the subject of the last paper (p. 42). The 
good taste which prevailed in the rest of the building is 
not so conspicuous here, because the architect has begun 
to consider effect instead of utility, and has put a diamond- 
shaped piece of ornament on the front (usually contain- 
ing the date of the building), which was not necessary, 
and looks out of place. He has endeavoured to build 
neatly too, and has bestowed a good deal of plaster on 
the outside, by 11 which circumstances the work is 
infinitely deteriorated. We have always disliked cylin- 
drical chimneys, probably because they put us in mind of 
glasshouses and manufactories, for we are aware of no 
more definite reason ; yet this example is endurable, and 
has a character about it which it would be a pity to lose. 
Sometimes when the square part is carried down the 
whole front of the cottage, it looks like the remains of 
some grey tower, and is not felt to be a chimney at all. 
Such deceptions are always very dangerous, though in 
this case sometimes attended with good effect, as in the 
old building called Coniston Hall, on the shores of 
Coniston "Water, whose distant outline (Fig. 25) is rendered 
light and picturesque, by the size and shape of its chim- 
neys, which are the same in character as Fig. 9. 

Of English chimneys adapted for buildings of a more 



THE POETEY OF ARCHITECTURE. 



63 



elevated character, we can adduce no good examples. 
The old red brick mass, which we see in some of our 
venerable manor-houses, has a great deal of English 
character about it, and is always agreeable, when the rest 
of the building is of brick. Fig. 2L is a chimney of this 



Fig. 25. 




kind: there is nothing remarkable in it; it is to be met 
with all over England ; but we have placed it beside its 
neighbour Fig. 22, to show how the same form and idea 
are modified by the mind of the nations who employ it. 
The design is the same in both, the proportions also; but 



64 THE POETEi: OF AECHITECTUEE. 

thu one is a chimney, the other a paltry model of a 
paltrier edifice. Fig. 22 is Swiss, and is liable to all the 
objections advanced against the Swiss cottages ; it is a 
despicable mimicry of a large building, like the tower in 
the engraving of the Italian cottage (Fig. 40, p. 104), 
carved in stone, it is true, but not the less to be repro- 
bated. Fig. 21, on the contrary, is adapted to its use, 
and has no affectation about it. It would be spoiled, how- 
ever, if built in stone ; because the marked bricks tell us 
the size of the whole at once, and prevent the eye from 
suspecting any intention to deceive it with a mockery of 
arches and columns, the imitation of which would be too 
perfect in stone ; and therefore, even in this case, we have 
failed to discover a chimney adapted to the higher class 
of edifices. 

Fig. 10 is a Netherland chimney, Figs. 11 and 12 Ger- 
man. Fig. 10 belongs to an old Gothic building in Ma- 
lines, and is a good example of the application of the 
same lines to the chimney which occur in other parts of 
the edifice, without bestowing any false elevation of char- 
acter. It is roughly carved in stone, projecting at its base 
grotesquely from the roof, and covered at the top. The 
pointed arch, by which its character is given, prevents it 
from breaking in upon the lines of the rest of the build- 
ing, and, therefore, in reality it renders it less conspicuous 
than it would otherwise have been. "We never should 
have noticed its existence, had we not been looking for 
chimneys. 



THE POETRY OF AKCHITECTUEE. 65 

Fig. 11 is also carved in stone, and where there is 
much variety of architecture, or where the buildings are 
grotesque, would be a good chimney, for the very simple 
reason that it resembles nothing but a chimney, and its 
lines are graceful. Fig. 12, though ugly in the abstract, 
anight be used with effect in situations where perfect sim- 
plicity would be too conspicuous; but both Figs. 11 and 
12 are evidently the awkward efforts of a tasteless nation, 
to produce something original: they have lost the chastity 
which we admired in Fig. 7, without obtaining the grace 
and spirit of Figs. 17 and 20. In fact, they are essen- 
tially German. 

Figs. 14 to 18 inclusive, are Spanish, and have a pecu- 
liar character, which would render it quite impossible to 
employ them out of their own country. Yet they are not 
decorated chimneys. There is not one fragment of orna* 
ment on any of them. All is done by variety of form; and 
with such variety no fault can be found, because it is 
necessary to give them the character of the buildings, out 
of which they rise. For we may observe here, once for 
all, that character may be given either by form or by de- 
coration, and that where the latter is improper, variety of 
the former is allowable, because the humble associations 
which render ornament objectionable, also render sim- 
plicity of form unnecessary.* We need not then find 
fault with fantastic chimneys, provided they are kept in 

* Elevation, of character, as was seen in the Italian cottage, depends 
upon simplicity of form. 



66 THE POETRY OF AECHITECTOIEE. 

unison with the rest of the building, and do not draw too 
much attention. 

Fig. 14, according to this rule, is a very good chimney. 
It is graceful without being pretending, and its grotesque- 
ness well suits the buildings round it we wish we could 
give them ; they are at Cordova. 

Figs. 16 and 17 ought to be seen, as they would be in 
reality, rising brightly up against the deep blue heaven of 
the south, the azure gleaming through their hollows; un- 
less perchance a slight breath of refined, pure, pale vapour 
finds its way from time to time out of them into the light 
air ; their tiled caps casting deep shadows on their white 
surfaces, and their tout ensemble causing no interruption 
to the feelings excited by the Moresco arches and 
grotesque dwelling-houses with which they would be 
surrounded ; they are sadly spoiled by being cut off at 
their bases. 

Figs. 13, 19, and 20 are Italian. Fig. 13 has only 
been given because it is constantly met with among the 
more modern buildings of Italy Figs. 19 and 20 are 
almost the only two varieties of chimneys which are to be 
found on the old Venetian palaces (whose style is to be 
traced partly to the Turk, and partly to the Moor). The 
curved lines of Fig. 19 harmonise admirably with those of 
the roof itself, and its diminutive size leaves the simplicity 
of form of the large building to which it belongs en- 
tirely uninterrupted and uninjured. Fig 20. is seen per- 
petually carrying the whiteness of the Venetian marble up 



THE POETEY OF AEOHITEOTUEE. 67 

into the sky ; but it is too tall, and attracts by far too 
much attention, being conspicuous on the sides of all the 
canals. Tigs. 22, 23, and 24 are Swiss. Fig. 23 is one 
specimen of an extensive class of decorated chimneys met 
with in the north-eastern cantons. It is never large, and 
consequently having no false elevation of character, and 
being always seen with eyes which have been prepared for 
it, by resting on the details of the Swiss cottage, is less 
disagreeable than might be imagined, but ought never tc 
be imitated. The pyramidal form is generally preserved, 
but the design is the same in^io two examples. 

Fig. 24 is a chimney very common in the eastern can- 
tons, the principle of which we never understood. The 
oblique part moves on a hinge so as to be capable of 
covering the chimney like a hat, and the whole is covered 
with wooden scales, like those of a fish. This chimney 
sometimes comes in very well among the conf used rafters 
of the mountain cottage, though it is rather too remark- 
able to be in good taste. 

It seems then, that out of the eighteen chimneys which 
we have noticed, though several possess character, and 
one or two elegance, only two are to be found fit for 
imitation ; and, of these, one is exclusively a cottage 
chimney. This is somewhat remarkable, and may serve 
as a proof : 

1st. Of what we at first asserted, that chimneys which 
in any way attract notice (and if these had not, we should 
not have sketched them) were seldom to be imitated: that 



68 THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 

there are few buildings which require them to be singu- 
lar, and none which can tolerate them if decorated ; and 
that the architect should always remember that the size 
and height being by necessity fixed, the form which draws 
least attention is the best. 

2dly. That this inconspicuoiisness is to be obtained, not 
by adhering to any model of simplicity, but by taking 
especial care that the lines of th.6 chimneys are no inter- 
ruption, and its colour no contrast, to those of the build- 
ing to which it belongs. Thus, Figs. 14 to 18 would be 
far more actually remarkable, in their natural situation, 
if they were more simple in their form ; for they would 
interrupt the character of the rich architecture by which 
they are surrounded. Fig. 10, rising as it does above an 
old Gothic window, would have attracted instant attention, 
had it not been for the occurrence of the same lines in it 
which prevail beneath it. The form of Fig. 19 only 
assimilates it more closely with the roof on which it 
stands. But we must not imitate chimneys of this kind, 
for their excellence consists only in their agreement with 
other details, separated from which they would be objec- 
tionable; we can only follow the principle of the design, 
which appears, from all that we have advanced, to be this : 
we require, in a good chimney, the character of the 'build- 
iny to which it belongs divested of all its elevation, and 
its prevailing lines deprived of all their ornament. 

This it is, no doubt, excessively difficult to give ; and, 
in consequence, there are very few cities or edifices in 



THE POETBY OF AECIIITEOTUEB. 69 

which the chimneys are not objectionable. "We must not, 
therefore, omit to notice the fulfilment of our expecta- 
tions, founded on English character ; the only two chim- 
neys fit for imitation, in the whole eighteen, are English ; 
and we would not infer 'anything from this, tending to 
invalidate the position formerly advanced, that there was 
no taste in England ; but we would adduce it as a farther 
illustration of the rule, that what is most adapted to its 
purpose is most beautiful. For that we have no taste, 
even in chimneys, is sufficiently proved by the roof effects, 
even of the most ancient, unaffected, and unplastered of 
our streets, in which the chimneys, instead of assisting in 
the composition of the groups of roofs, stand out in star- 
ing masses of scarlet and black, with foxes and cocks 
whisking about, like so many black devils, in the smoke 
on the top of them, interrupting all repose, annihilating 
all dignity, and awaking every possible conception which 
would be picturesque, and every imagination which would 
be rapturous, to the mind of master-sweeps. 

On the other hand, though they have not on the Conti- 
nent the same knowledge of the use and beauty of chim- 
neys in the abstract, they display their usual good taste in 
grouping or concealing them ; and, whether we find them 
mingling with the fantastic domiciles of the German, with 
the rich imaginations of the Spaniard, with the classical 
remains and creations of the Italian, they are never intru- 
sive or disagreeable ; and either assist the grouping, and 
relieve the horizontally of the lines of the roof, or remain 



70 THE POETET 01' AKCIIITECTUBE. 

entirely unnoticed and insignificant, smoking their pipes 
in peace. 

It is utterly impossible to give rules for the attainment 
of these effects, since they are the result of a feeling of 
the proportion and relation of lines, which, if not natural 
to a person, cannot be acquired but by long practice and 
close observation; and it presupposes a power rarely 
bestowed on an English architect, of setting regularity 
at defiance, and sometimes comfort out of the question. 
We could give some particular examples of this grouping ; 
but, as this paper has already swelled to an unusual 
length, we shall defer them until we come to the consider- 
ation of street effects in general. Of the chimney in the" 
abstract, we are afraid we have only said enough to illus- 
trate, without removing, the difficulty of designing it ; but 
we cannot but think that the general principles which 
have been deduced, if carefully followed out, would be 
found useful, if not for the attainment of excellence, at 
least for the prevention of barbarism. 

Oxford, Feb. 10. 

IT now only remains for us to conclude the subject of 
the Cottage, by a few general remarks on the just ap- 
plication of modern buildings to adorn or vivify natu- 
ral scenery. 

There are, we think, only three cases in which the cot 
tage is considered as an element of architectural, or any 
other kind of beauty, since it is ordinarily raised by the 



THB POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 71 

peasant where he likes, and how he likes ; and, therefore, 
as we have seen, frequently in good taste. 

1. When a nobleman, or man of fortune, amuses him- 
self with superintending the erection of the domiciles of 
his domestics. 2. When ornamental summer-houses, or 
mimicries of wigwams, are to he erected as ornamental 
adjuncts to a prospect which the owner has done all he 
can to spoil, that it may be worthy of the honour of 
having him to look at it. 3. When the landlord ex- 
ercises a certain degree of influence over the cottages 
of his tenants, or the improvements of the neighbour- 
ing village, so as to induce such a tone of feeling in 
the new erections as he may think suitable to their 
situation. 

In the first of these cases, there is little to be said; 
for the habitation of the domestic is generally a depend- 
ent feature of his master's, and, therefore, to be con- 
sidered as a part of it. Porters' lodges are also de- 
pendent upon, and to be regulated by, the style of the 
architecture to which they are attached; and they are 
generally well managed in England, properly united with 
the gate, and adding to the effect of the entrance. 

In the second case, as the act is in itself a barbar- 
ism, it would be useless to consider what would be the 
best mode of perpetrating it. 

In the third case, we think it will be useful to apply 
a few general principles, deduced from positions form- 
erly advanced. 



72 THE POETKY OF ARCHITECTURE. 

All buildings are, of course, to be considered in con- 
nexion with the country in which they are to be raised. 
Now, all landscape must possess one out of four dis- 
tinct characters. 

It must be either woody, the green country ; cultivated, 
the blue country ; wild, the grey country ; or hilly, the 
brown country. 

1. The Woody, or green, Country. By this is to be un- 
derstood the mixture of park, pasture, and variegated 
forest, which is only to be seen in temperate climates, and 
in those parts of a kingdom which have not often changed 
proprietors, but have remained in unproductive beauty (or 
at least, furnishing timber only), the garden of the wealth- 
ier population. It is to be seen in no other country, per- 
haps, so well as in England. In other districts, we find 
extensive masses of black forest, but not the mixture of 
sunny glade, and various foliage, and dewy sward, which 
we meet with in the richer park districts of England. 
This kind of country is always surgy, oceanic, and massy, 
in its outline ; it never affords blue distances, unless seen 
from a height; and, even then, the nearer groups are 
large, and draw away the attention from the background. 
The under soil is kept cool by the shade, and its vegeta- 
tion rich ; so that the prevailing colour, except for a few 
days at the fall of the leaf, is a fresh green. A good ex 
ample of this kind of country is the view from Richmond 
Hill. 

Now, first, let us consider what sort of feeling this 



THE POETBY OF AECHITECTHEE. 73 

greeii country excites ; and, in order to do so, be it 
observed, that anything which is apparently enduring and 
unchangeable gives us an impression rather of future, 
than of past, duration of existence ; but anything which 
being perishable, and from its nature subject to change, 
has yet existed to a great age, gives us an impression of 
antiquity, though, of course, none of stability. A moun- 
tain, for instance (not geologically speaking, for then the 
furrows on its brow give it age as visible as was ever 
wrinkled on human forehead, but considering it as it ap- 
pears to ordinary eyes), appears to be beyond the influence 
of change : it does not put us in mind of its past existence 
by showing us any of the effect of time upon itself ; we do 
not feel that it is old, because it is not approaching any 
kind of death : it is a mass of unsentient undecaying mat- 
ter, which, if we think about it, we discover must have ex- 
isted for some time, but which does not tell this fact to our 
feelings, or, rather, which tells us of no time at which it 
came into existence ; and, therefore, gives us no standard 
by which to measure its age, which, unless measured, ean- 
iiot be distinctly felt. But a very old forest tree is^a- 
thing subject to the sa-.ne laws of nature as ourselves : it is 
an energetic being, liable to and approaching death ; its 
age is written on every spray; and, because we see it 
is susceptible of life and annihilation, like our own, we 
imagine it must be capable of the same feelings, and pos- 
sess the same faculties, and, above all others, memory : it 
is always telling us about the past, never pointing to the 

4: 



74 THE POETEY OF ARCHITECTURE. 

future ; we appeal to it, as to a thing which has seen and 
felt daring a life similiar to our own, though of ten times 
its duration, and therefore receive from it a perpetual im- 
pression of antiquity. So, again, a ruined tower gives us 
an impression of antiquity : the stones of which it is built, 
none ; for their age is not written upon them. 

This being the case, it is evident that the chief feeling 
induced by woody country is one of reverence for its anti- 
quity. There is a quiet melancholy about the decay of the 
patriarchal trunks, which is enhanced by the green and 
elastic vigour of the young saplings ; the noble form of the 
forest aisles, and the subdued light which penetrates their 
entangled boughs, combine to add to the impression ; and 
the whole character of the scene is calculated to excite 
conservative feeling. The man who could remain a radi- 
cal in a wood country is a disgrace to his species. 

Ifow, this feeling of mixed melancholy and veneration 
is the one of all others which the modern cottage must not 
be allowed to violate. It may be fantastic or rich in 
detail; for the one character will make it look old- 
fashioned, and the other will assimilate with the inter- 
twining of leaf and bough around it : but it must not be 
spruce or natty, or very bright in colour ; and the older it 
looks the better. 

A little grotesqueness tu form is the more allowable, 
because the imagination is naturally active in the obscure 
and indefinite daylight of wood scenery ; conjures up in- 
numerable beings, of every size and shape, to people its 



THE POETR7 OF ARCHITECTURE. 75 

alleys and smile through its thickets ; and is by no means 
displeased to find some of its inventions half -realized, in a 
decorated panel or grinning extremity oi a rafter. 

These characters being kept in view, as objects to be 
attained, the remaining considerations are technical. 

For the form. Select any well-grown grown group of 
the tree which prevails most near the proposed site of the 
cottage. Its summit will be a rounded mass. Take the 
three principal points of its curve ; namely, its apex (<?), 
and the two points where it unites itself with neighbour- 




ing masses (a and 5, Fig. 26). Strike a circle through these 
three points ; and the angle contained in the segment cut 
off by a line joining a and I is to be the angle of the 
cottage roof. (Of course we are not thinking of interior 
convenience ; the architect must establish his model of 
beauty first, and then approach it as nearly as he can.) 
This angle will generally be very obtuse ; and this is one 
reason why the Swiss cottage is always beautiful when it 
is set among walnut or chestnut trees. Its obtuse roof is 
just about the true angle. "With pines or larches, the 
angle should not be regulated by the form of the tree, but 



76 THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 

by the slope of the branches. The building itself should 
be bw and long, so that, if possible, it may not be seen all 
at once, but may be partially concealed by trunks or leaf- 
age at various distances. 

For the colour, that of wood, is always beautiful. If the 
wood of the near trees be used, so much the better ; but 
the timber should be rough-hewn, and allowed to get 
weather-stained. Cold colours will not suit with green ; 
and, therefore, slated roofs are disagreeable, unless, as in 
the Westmoreland cottage, the gray roof is warmed with 
lichenous vegetation, when it will do well with anything ; 
but thatch is better. If the building be not of wood, the 
walls may be built of anything which will give them a 
quiet and unobtruding warmth of tone. White, if in 
shade, is sometimes allowable ; but, if visible at any point 
more than 200 yards off, it will spoil the whole landscape. 
In general, as we saw before, the building will bear some 
fantastic finishing, that is, if it be entangled in forest ; but 
if among massive groups of trees, separated by smooth 
sward, it must be kept simple. 

2. The Cultivated, or blue, Country. This is the rich 
champaign land, in which large trees are more sparingly 
scattered, and which is chiefly devoted to the purposes of 
agriculture. In this we are perpetually getting blue dis- 
tances from the slightest elevation, which are rendered 
more decidedly so by their contrast with warm corn or 
ploughed fields in the foreground. Such is the greater 
pait of England. The view from the hills of Malvern is 



THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. . 77 

a good example. In districts of this kind, all is change \ 
one year's crop Las no memory of its predecessor ; all is 
activity, prosperity and usefulness ; nothing is left to the 
imagination; there is no obscurity, no poetry, no non- 
sense ; the colours of the landscape are bright and varied - 
it is thickly populated, and glowing with animal life.. 
Here, then, the character of the cottage must be cheerful- 
ness : its colours may be vivid ; white is always beautiful ; 
even red tiles are allowable, and red bricks endurable. 
Neatness will not spoil it ; the angle of its roof may be 
acute, its windows sparkling, and its roses red and abun- 
dant ; but it must not be ornamented nor fantastic, it must 
be evidently built for the uses of common life, and have a 
matter-of-fact, business-like air about it. Its outhouses, 
and pigsties, and dunghills should, therefore, be kept in 
sight : the latter may be made very pretty objects by 
twisting them with the pitchfork, and plaiting them into 
braids, as the Swiss do. 

3. The Wild, or grey, Country. "Wild" is not exactly 
a correct epithet ; we mean wide, unenclosed, treeless un- 
dulations of land, whether cultivated or not. The greater * 
part of northern France, though well brought under the 
plough, would come under the denomination of grey 
countiy. Occasional masses of monotonous forest do not 
destroy this character. Here, size is desirable, and massi- 
ness of form ; but we must have no brightness of colour 
in the cottage, otherwise it would draw the eye to it at 
three miles off, and the whole landscape would be covered 



78 THE POETEY OF AKCHITECTTJKK. 

with conspicuous dots. White is agreeable, if sobered 
down ; slate allowable on the roof, as well as thatch. For 
the rest, we need only refer to the remarks formerly made 
on the propriety of the French cottage. 

Lastly, Hill, or brown, Country. And here, if we look 
to England alone, as peculiarly a cottage country, the re- 
marks formerly advanced, in the consideration of the 
Westmoreland cottage, are sufficient ; but, if we go into 
mountain districts of more varied character, we shall find 
a difference existing between every range of hills, which 
will demand a corresponding difference in the style of 
their cottages. The principles, however, are the same in 
all situations, and it would be a hopeless task to endeavour 
to give more than general principles. In hill country, 
however, another question is introduced, whose investiga- 
tion is peculiarly necessary in cases in which the ground 
has inequality of surface, that of position. And the diffi- 
culty here is, not so much to ascertain where the building 
ought to be, as to put it there, without suggesting any 
enquiry as to the mode in which it got there; to prevent 
its just application from appearing artificial. But we 
cannot enter into this enquiry, before laying down a num- 
ber of principles of composition, which are applicable, 
not only to cottages, but generally, and which we cannot 
deduce until we come to the consideration of buildings in 
groups. 

Such are the great divisions under which country and 
rural buildings may be comprehended ; but there arc in- 



THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 79 

tennediate conditions, in which modified forms oi ! the cot- 
tage are applicable ; and it frequently happens that conn- 
try which, considered in the abstract, would fall under 
one of these classes, possesses, owing to its peculiar 
climate or associations, a very different character. Italy, 
for instance, is bine country ; yet it has not the least re- 
semblance to English blue country. We have paid parti- 
cular attention to wood ; first, because we had not, in any 
previous paper, considered what was beautiful in a forest 
cottage ; and, secondly, because in such districts there is 
generally much more influence exercised by proprietors 
over their tenantry, than in populous and cultivated dis- 
tricts ; and our English park scenery, though exquisitely 
beautiful, is sometimes, we think, a little monotonous, 
from the want of this very feature. 

And now, farewell to the cottage, and, with it, to the 
humility of natural scenery. We are sorry to leave it ; 
not that we have any idea of living in a cottage, as a com- 
fortable thing ; not that we prefer mud to marble, or deal 
to mahogany ; but that, with it, we leave much of what is 
most beautiful of earth, the low and bee-inhabited scen- 
ery, which is full of quiet and prideless emotion, of such 
calmness as we can imagine prevailing over our earth 
when it was new in heaven. "We are going into higher 
walks of architecture, where we shall find a less close 
connexion established between the building and the soil 
on which it stands, or the air with which it is surrounded, 
but a closer connexion with the character of its inhabitant. 



80 THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 

We shall have less to do with natural feeling, and more 
with human passion ; we are coining out of stillness into 
turbulence, out of seclusion into the multitude, out of the 
wilderness into the world. 



THE YILLA. 
The Mountain Villa. Lago di Oomo. 

IN all arts or sciences, before we can determine what is 
just or beautiful in a group, we must ascertain what is de- 
sirable in the parts which compose it, separately con- 
sidered ; and therefore it will be most advantageous in the 
present case to keep out of the village and the city, until 
we have searched hill and dale for examples of isolated 
buildings. This mode of considering the subject is also 
agreeable to the feelings, as the transition from the higher 
orders of solitary edifices, to groups of associated edifices, 
is not too sudden or startling, as that from nature's most 
humble peace, to man's most turbulent pride.- 

We have contemplated the rural dwelling of the pea- 
sant ; let us next consider the ruralised domicile of the 
gentleman : and here, as before, we shall first determine 
what is theoretically beautiful, and then observe how far 
our expectations are fulfilled in individual buildings. But 
a few preliminary observations are necessary. 

Man, the peasant, is a being of more marked national 
character, than man, the educated and refined. For na- 
tionality is founded, in a great degree, on prejudices and 
feelings inculcated and aroused in youth, which grow in- 
veterate in the mind- as long as its views are confined to 
4* 



82 THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 

the place of its birth ; its ideas moulded by the customs ol 
its country, and its conversation limited to a circle com- 
posed of individuals of habits and feelings like its own; 
but which are gradually softened down, and eradicated, 
when the mind is led into general views of things, when it 
is guided by reflection instead of habit, and has begun to 
lay aside opinions contracted under the influence of asso- 
ciation and prepossession, substituting in their room philo- 
sophical deductions from the calm contemplation of the 
various tempers, and thoughts, and customs, of mankind. 
The love of its country will remain with undiminished 
strength in the cultivated mind, but the national modes 
of thinking will vanish from the disciplined intellect. 
Now as it is only by these mannerisms of thought that 
architecture is affected, we shall find that the more polish- 
ed the mind of its designer, the less national will be the 
building ; for its architect will be led away by a search 
after a model of ideal beauty, and will not be- involun- 
tarily guided by deep-rooted feelings, governing irresisti- 
bly his heart and hand. He will therefore be in per- 
petual danger of forgetting the necessary unison of scene 
and climate, and following up the chase of the ideal, will 
neglect the beauty of the natural; an error which ho 
could not commit, were he less general in bis views, for 
then 1he prejudices to which he would be subject, would 
be as truly in unison with the objects which created 
them, as answering notes with the chords which awaken 
them. We must not, therefore, be surprised, if buildings 



THE POETRY OF AECIHTECTlTItE. S3 

bearing impress of the exercise of fine thought and high 
talent in their design, should yet offend us by perpetual 
discords with scene and climate; and if, therefore, we 
sometimes derive less instruction, and less pleasure, from 
the columnar portico of the Palace, than from the latched 
door of the Cottage. 

Again : man, in his hours of relaxation, when he is en- 
gaged in the pursuits of mere pleasure, is less national 
than when he is under the influence of any of the more 
violent feelings which agitate every-day life. The reason 
of this may at first appear somewhat obscure, but it will 
become evident, on a little reflection. Aristotle's defini- 
tion of pleasure, perhaps the best ever given, is, " an agi- 
tation, and settling of the spirit into its own proper na- 
ture ;" similar, by the by, to the giving of liberty of motion 
to the molecules of a mineral, followed by their crystal- 
lisation, into their own proper form. Now this "proper 
nature," V7rdpxpv<rw Ovo-w, is not the acquired national 
habit, but the common and universal constitution of the 
human soul. This constitution is kept under by the feel- 
ings which prompt to action, for those feelings depend 
upon parts of character, or of prejudice, which are pecu- 
liar to individuals or to nations ; and the pleasure which 
all men seek is a kind of partial casting away of these 
more active feelings, to return to the calm and unchang- 
ing constitution of mind which is the same in all. Wo 
shall, therefore, find that man, in the business of his life, 
in religion, war, or ambition, is national, but in relaxation 



84 THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 

lie manifests a nature common to every individual of his 
race. A Turk, for instance, and an English farmer, 
smoking their evening pipes, differ only in so much as the 
one has a mouth-piece of amber, and the other one of 
sealing-wax ; the one has a turban on his head, and the 
ether a night-cap ; they are the same in feeling, and to all 
intents and purposes the same men. But a Turkish janis- 
sary and an English grenadier differ widely in all their 
modes of thinking, feeling, and acting ; they are strictly 
national. So again, a Tyrolese evening dance, though the 
costume, and the step, and the music may be different, is the 
same in feeling as that of the Parisian guinguette ; but fol- 
low the Tyrolese iuto their temples, and their deep devotion 
and beautiful though superstitious reverence will be found 
very different from any feeling exhibited during a mass in 
Notre-Dame. This being the case, it is a direetconsequence, 
that we shall find much nationality in the Church or the 
Fortress, or in any building devoted to the purposes of 
active life, but very little in that which is dedicated ex- 
clusively to relaxation, the Yilla. "We shall be compelled 
to seek out nations of very strong feeling and imaginative 
disposition, or we shall find no correspondence whatever 
between their character, and that of their buildings de- 
voted to pleasure. In our own country, for instance, there 
is not the slightest. Beginning at the head of Winder- 
mere, and running down its border for about six miles, 
there are six important gentlemen's seats, villas they may 
be called, the first of which is a square white mass, cle- 



THE POETRY OF AECIIITECTTTEE. 8S 

corated with pilasters of no order, set in a green avenue, 
sloping clown to the water; the second is an imitation, we 
suppose, of something possessing theoretical existence in 
Switzerland, with sharp gable ends, and wooden flourishes 
turning the corners, set on a little dumpy mound, with a 
slate wall running all round it, glittering with iron pyrites ; 
the third is a blue dark-looking box, squeezed up into a 
group of straggly larches, with a bog in front of it ; the 
fourth is a cream-coloured domicile, in a large park, rather 
quiet and unaffected, the best of the four, though that is not 
saying much ; the fifth is an old-fashioned thing, formal, 
and narrow-windowed, yet grey in its tone, and quiet, and 
not to be maligned ; and the sixth is a nondescript, cir- 
cular, putty-coloured habitation, with a leaden dome on the 
top of it. If, however, instead of taking TPindermere, we 
trace the shore of the Lago di Oomo, we shall find some 
expression and nationality, and there, therefore, will we 
go, to return, however, to England, when we have ob- 
tained some data by which to judge of her more fortunate 
edifices. We notice the Mountain Villa first, for two 
reasons ; because effect is always more considered in its 
erection, than when it is to be situated in a less interesting 
country, and because the effect desired is very rarely given, 
there being far greater difficulties to contend with. But 
one word more, before setting off for the south. Though, 
as we saw before, the gentleman has less national char- 
acter than the boor, his individual character is more 
marked, especially in its finer features, which are clearly 



86 THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 

and perfectly developed by education ; consequently, 
when the inhabitant of the villa has had anything to do 
with its erection, we might expect to find indications of 
individual and peculiar feelings, which it would be most 
interesting to follow out. But this is no part of our pre- 
sent task ; at some future period we hope to give a series 
of essays on the habitations of the most distinguished men. 
of Europe, showing how the alterations which they di- 
rected, and the expression which they bestowed, corres- 
ponded with the turn of their emotions, and leading intel- 
lectual faculties ; but at present we have to deal only with 
generalities ; we have to ascertain, not what will be pleas- 
ing to a single mind, but what will afford gratification to 
every eye possessing a certain degree of experience, and 
every mind endowed with a certain degree of taste. 

Without further preface, therefore, let us endeavour to 
ascertain what would be theoretically beautiful, on the 
shore, or among the scenery of the Larian Lake, prepara- 
tory to a sketch of the general features of those villas 
which exist there, in too great a multitude to admit, on 
our part, of much individual detail. 

For the general tone of the scenery, we may refer to 
the paper on the Italian cottage ;* for the shores of the 



* The C7iaracter of the Italian Mountain Scejiery.^ho^ Italian 
mountain scenery has less elevation of character than the plains may 
appear singular ; but there are many simple reasons for a fact which, 
we doubt not, has been felt by every one (capable of feeling anything) 
who ever left the Alps to pass into Lombardy. The first is, that a 



1SE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 87 

Lake of Como have generally the character there des- 
cribed, with a little more cheerfulness, and a little less 
elevation, but aided by great variety of form. They are 
not quite so rich in vegetation as the plains : both because 
the soil is scanty, there being, of course, no decomposition 
going on among the rocks of black marble which form 
the greater part of the shore ; and because the mountains 
rise steeply from the water, leaving only a narrow zone at 



mountain scene, as we saw in the last paper, bears no traces of decay, 
since it never possessed any of life. The desolation of the sterile 
peaks, never having been interrupted, is altogether free from the 
melancholy which is consequent on the passing away of interruption. 
They stood up in the time of Italy's glory, into the voiceless air, while 
all the life and light which she remembers now was working and 
moving at their feet, an animated cloud, which they did not feel, and 
do not miss. That region of life never reached up their flanks, and has 
left them no memorials of its being; they have no associations, no 
monuments, no memories ; we look on them as we would on other hills : 
things of abstract and natural magnificence, which the presence of man 
could not increase, nor his departure sadden. They are, in conse- 
quence, destitute of all that renders the name of Ausonia thrilling, or 
her champaigns beautiful, beyond the mere splendour of climate ; and 
even that splendour is unshared by the mountain ; its cold atmosphere 
being undistinguished by any of that rich, purple, ethereal trans- 
parency, which gives the air of the plains its depth of feeling : we 
can find no better expression. 

Secondly. In aU hill scenery, though there is increase of size, there 
is want of distance. We are not speaking of views from summits, but 
of the average aspect of valleys. Suppose the mountains be 10,000 ft. 
high, their summit will not be more than six miles distant in a direct 
line ; and there is a general sense of confinement, induced by their 
wan-like boundaries, which is painful, contrasted with the wide expa- 
tiation of spirit induced by a distant view over plains. In ordinary 
countries, however, where the plain is an uninteresting mass of culti 
vation, the sublimity of distance is not to be compared to that of 



88 THE POETEY OF ARCHITECTURE. 

their bases in the climate of Italy. In that zone, how 
ever, the olive grows in great luxuriance, with the cypresa> 
orange, aloe, myrtle, and vine, the latter always trellised. 

Now, as to the situation of the cottage, we have already 
seen that great humility was necessary, both in the build- 
ing and its site, to prevent it from offending us by an 
apparent struggle with forces, compared with which its 
strength was dust: but we cannot have this extreme 



size : but, where every yard of the cultivated country has its tale to 
tell; where it is perpetually intersected "by rivers whose names are 
meaning music, and glancing with cities and villages, every one of 
which has its own halo round its head ; and where the eye is carried by 
the clearness of the air over the blue of the farthest horizon, without 
finding one wreath of mist, or one shadowy cloud, to check the dis- 
tinctness of the impression; the mental emotions excited are richer, 
and deeper, and swifter than could be awakened by the noblest hills 
of the earth, unconnected with the deeds of men. 

Lastly. The plain country of Italy has not even to, choose between 
the glory of distance and of size, for it has both. I do not think there 
is a spot, from Yenice to Messina, where two ranges of mountains, at 
the least, are not in sight at the same time. In Lombardy, the Alps 
are on one side, the Apennines on the other ; in the Yenei ian territory, 
the Alps, Apennines, and Euganean Hills ; going southwards, the Apen- 
nines always, their outworks running far towards the sea, and the coast 
itself frequently mountainous. Now, the aspect of a noble range of 
hills, at a considerable distance, is, in our opinion, far more imposing 
(considered in the abstract) than they are seen near : their height is 
better told, their outlines softer and more melodious, their majesty 
more mysterious. But, in Italy, they gain more by distance than 
majesty : they gain life. They cease to be the cold forgetful things 
they were ; they hold the noble plains in their lap. and become 
venerable, as having looked down upon them, and watched over them 
for ever, unchanging ; they become part of the pictures of associations ; 
we endow them with memory, and then feel them to be possessed of 
all that i* glorious on earth. 



THE POETRY OF AECniTECTUEE. 80 

humility in tlie villa, the dwelling of wealth and power, 
and yet we must not, any more, suggest the idea of its 
resisting natural influences under which the Pyramids 
could not abide. The only way of solving the difficulty 
is, to select such sites as shall seem to have been set aside 
by nature as places of rest, as points of calm and endur- 
ing beauty, ordained to sit and smile in their glory of 
quietness, while the avalanche brands the mountain top, 
and the torrent desolates the valley ; yet so preserved, not 

For these three reasons, then, the plains of Italy possess far more 
elevation of character than her hill scenery. To the northward, this 
contrast is felt very strikingly, as the distinction is well marked, the 
Alps rising sharply and suddenly. To the southward, the plain is more 
mingled with low projecting promontories, and unites almost every kind 
of beauty. However, even among her northern lakes, the richness of 
the low climate, and the magnificence of form and colour presented 
by the distant Alps, raise the character of the scene immeasurably 
above that of most hill landscapes, even were those natural features 
entirely unassisted by associations which, though more sparingly scat- 
tered than in the south, are sufficient to give light to every leaf, and 
voice to every wave. 

Tlie AvalancJie brands the Mountain Top. There are two kinds of- 
winter avalanches ; the one, sheets of frozen snow, sliding on the sur- 
face of others. The swiftness of these, as the clavendier of the Con- 
vent of St. Bernard told me, he could compare to nothing but that of 
a cannon ball of equal size. The other is a rolling mass of snow, 
accumulating in its descent. This, grazing the bare hiU side, tears up 
its surface like dust, bringing away soil, rock, and vegetation, as a 
grazing ball tears flesh ; and leaving its withered path distinct on the 
green hill side, as if the mountain had been branded with red-hot 
iron. They generally keep to the same paths ; but, when the snow 
accumulates, and sends down one the wrong way, it has been known tc 
cut down a pine forest, as a scythe mows grass. The tale of its work 
is well told by the seared and branded marks on the hiU summits anel 
sides. 



90 THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 

by shelter amidst violence, but by being placed wholly out 
of the influence of violence. For in this they must differ 
from the site of the cottage, that the peasant may seek 
for protection under some low rock or in some narrow 
dell, but the villa must have a domain to itself, at once 
conspicuous, beautiful, and calm. 

As regards the form of the cottage, we have seen how 
the "Westmoreland cottage harmonised with the ease of out- 
line so conspicuous in hill scenery, by the irregularity of its 
details ; but, here, no such irregularity is allowable or con- 
sistent, and is not even desirable. For the cottage enhan- 
ces the wildness of the surrounding scene, by sympathising 
with it ; the villa must do the same thing, by contrasting 
with it. The eye feels, in a far greater degree, the terror 
of the distant and desolate peaks, when it passes down 
their ravined sides to sloping and verdant hills, and is 
guided from these to the rich glow of vegetable life in the 
low zones, and through this glow to the tall front of some 
noble edifice, peaceful even in its pride. But this contrast 
must not be sudden, or it will be startling and harsh ; and 
therefore, as we saw above, the villa must be placed where 
all the severe features of the scene, though not concealed, 
are distant, and where there is a graduation, so to speak, 
of impressions, from terror to loveliness, the one softened 
by distance, the other elevated in its style : and the form 
of the villa must not be fantastic or angular, but must be 
full of variety, so tempered by simplicity as to obtain ease 
of outline united with elevation of character ; the first be- 



THE FOETBY OF AECHITECTUKE. 91 

ing necessary for reasons before advanced, and the second, 
that the whole may harmonise with the feelings induced 
by the lofty features of the accompanying scenery in any 
hill country, and yet more, on the Larian Lake, by the 
deep memories and everlasting associations which haunt 
the stillness of its shore. Of the colour required by Italian 
landscape we have spoken before, and we shall see that, 
particularly in this case, white or pale tones are agreeable. 
TFe shall now proceed to the situation and form of the 
villa. .As regards situation; the villas of the Lago di 
Como are built, par preference, either on jutting promon- 
tories of low crag covered with olives, or on those parts of 
the shore where some mountain stream has carried out a 
bank of alluvium into the lake. One object proposed in 
this choice of situation is, to catch the breeze as it comes up 
the main opening of the hills, and to avoid the reflection 
of the sun's rays from the rocks of the actual shore ; and 
another is, to obtain a prospect up or down the lake, and oi 
the hills on whose projection the villa is built: but the 
effect of this choice, when the building is considered the 
object, is to carry it exactly into the place where it ought 
to be, far from the precipice and dark mountain, to the 
border of the bending bay and citron-scented cape, where 
it stands at once conspicuous and in peace. For instance, 
in Fig. 27, (Bqllaggio, Lago di Como), although the eye 
falls suddenly from the crags above to the promontory 
below, yet all the sublime and severe features of the 
scene are kept in the distance, and the villa itself is 



THE POETEY OF ABCIUTECTUEE. 



FIG. 27 




THE POETKY OF ABCHITECTUBE. 



93 



gled with graceful lines, and embosomed in rich vegeta- 
tion. The promontory separates the Lake of Lecco from 
that of Como, properly so called, and is three miles from 
the opposite shore, which gives room enough for aerial 
perspective. So also in Fig. 28. 

Fig. 28. 




We shall now consider the form of the villa. It is gen- 
erally the apex of a series of artificial terraces, which con- 
duct through its gardens to the water. These are formal 
in their design, but extensive, wide, and majestic in theii* 



94: THE POETBY OF ARCHITECTTJEE. 

slope, the steps being generally about ^ ft. high and 4-J ft 
wide (sometimes however much deeper). They are gene- 
rally supported by white wall, strengthened by unfilled 
arches, the angles being turned by sculptured pedestals, sur- 
mounted by statues, or urns. Along the terraces are car- 
ried rows, sometimes of cypress, more frequently of orange 
or lemon trees, with myrtles, ft sweet bay, and aloes, inter- 
mingled, but always with dark and spiry cypresses occur- 
ring in groups ; and attached to these terraces, or to tho 
villa itself, are series of arched grottoes (seen well in Fig. 
27), built (or sometimes cut in the rock) for coolness, fre- 
quently overhanging the water, kept dark and fresh, and 
altogether delicious to the feelings. A good instance of 
these united peculiarities is seen in Fig. 27. (Villa Somma- 
Biva, Lago di Como). There are a few slight additions 
made to the details of the approach, that it may be a good 
example of general style. 

The effect of these approaches is disputable. It is dis- 
pleasing to many, from its formality ; but we are per- 
suaded that it is right, because it is a national style, and 
therefore has in all probability due connexion with scene and 
character ; and this connexion we shall endeavour to prove. 

The frequent occurrence of the arch is always delight- 
ful in distant effect, partly on account of its graceful line, 
partly because the shade it casts is varied in depth, becom- 
ing deeper and deeper as the grotto retires, and partly be- 
cause it gives great apparent elevation to the walls which 



THE POETRY OF AKCUITECTUBE. 95 

seen near, because they give an impression of coolness to 
the eye ; and they echo all sounds with great melody ; 
small streams are often conducted through them, occasion- 
ing slight breezes by their motion. Then the statue and 
tLe urn are graceful in their outline, classical in their 
meaning, and correct in their position, for where could they 
be more appropriate than here : the one ministering to 
memory, and the other to mourning. The terraces them- 
selves are dignified 'in their character (a necessary effect, as 
we saw above), and even the formal rows of trees are right in 
this climate, for a peculiar reason. Effect is always to be 
considered, in Italy, as if the sun were always to shine, for 
it does nine days out of ten. Now the shadows of foliage 
regularly disposed, fall with a grace which it is impossible 
to describe, running up and down across the marble steps, 
and casting alternate statues into darkness ; and chequer- 
ing the white walls with a "method in their madness/' 
altogether unattainable by loose grouping of trees; and 
therefore, for the sake of this kind of shade, to which the 
eye, as well as the feeling, is attracted, the long row of 
cypresses or orange trees is allowable. But there is a still 
more important reason for it, of a directly contrary nature 
to that which its formality would seem to require. In all 
beautiful designs of exterior descent, a certain regularity 
is necessary ; the lines should be graceful, but they must 
balance each other, slope answering to slope, statue to 
statue. JS~ow this mathematical regularity would hurt the 
eye excessively in the midst of scenes of natural grace, 



96 THE TOETEY OF AEOHITECTUEE. 

were it executed in bare stone ; but, if we make part of 
the design itself foliage, and put in touches of regular 
shade, alternating with the stone, whose distances and 
darkness are as mathematically limited as the rest of the 
grouping, but whose nature is changeful, and varied in in- 
dividual forms, we have obtained a link between nature 
and art, a step of transition, leading the feelings gradually 
from the beauty of regularity to that of freedom. And 
this effect would not be obtained, as might at first appear, 
by intermingling trees of different kinds, at irregular dis- 
tances, or wherever they choose to grow ; for then the de- 
sign and the foliage would be instantly separated by the 
eye, the symmetry of the one would be interrupted, the 
grace of the other lost ; the nobility of the design would 
not 'be seen, but its formality would be felt ; and the wild- 
ness of the trees would be injurious, because it would be 
felt to be out of place. On principles of composition, 
therefore, the regular disposition of decorative foliage is 
right, when such foliage is mixed with architecture ; but 
it requires great taste, and long study, to design this dis- 
position properly. Trees of dark leaf and little colour 
should be invariably used, for they are to be considered, 
it must be remembered, rather as free touches of shade 
than as trees. Take, for instance, the most simple bit of 
design, such as the hollow balustrade Fig. 29, and sup- 
pose that it is found to look cold or raw, when executed, 
aud to want depth. Then put small pots, with any 
dark shrub, the darker the better, at fixed places be- 



THE POETRY OF ARCillTECTUJRE. 



97 



hind tlienvat tlie same distance as tlie balustrades, or 
between every two or three, as shown in Fig. 30, and keep 
them cut down to a certain height, and we have immedi- 
ate depth and increased ease, with nndiminished symmetry. 
But the great difficulty is to keep the thing within propel 
limits, since too much of it will lead to paltriness, as is the 
case in a slight degree in Isola Bella, on Lago llaggiore ; 

Fig. 29. 





Fig. 30. 

and not to let it run into small details : for, be it remem- 
bered, that it is only in the majesty of art, in its large and 
general effects, that this regularity is allowable; nothing 
but variety should be studied .in detail, and therefore there 
can be no barbarism greater then the lozenge borders and 
5 



98 THE POETRY OF ABCHITECTURE. 

beds of the French garden. The scenery around must be 
naturally rich, that its variety of line may relieve the slight 
stiffness of the architecture itself; and the climate must 
always be considered ; for, as we saw, the chief beauty of 
these flights of steps depends upon the presence of the 
sun ; and, if they are to be in shade half the year, the dark 
trees will only make them gloomy, the grass will grow be- 
tween the stones of the steps, black weeds will flicker from 
the pedestals, damp mosses discolour the statues and urns, 
and the whole will become one incongruous ruin, one ridi- 
culous decay. Besides, the very dignity of its character, 
even could it be kept in proper order, would be out of 
place in any country but Italy. Busts of Tirgil or Ariosto 
would look astonished in an English snow-storm ; statues 
of Apollo and Diana would be no more divine, where the 
laurels of the one would be weak, and the crescent of the 
other would never gleam in pure moonlight. The whole 
glory of the design consists in its unison with the dignity 
of the landscape, and with the classical tone of the country. 
Take it away from its concomitant circumstances, and in- 
stead of conducting the eye to it by a series of lofty and 
dreamy impressions, bring it through green lanes, or over 
copse-covered crags, as would be the case in England, and 
the whole system becomes utterly and absolutely absurd, 
ugly in outline, worse than useless in application, unmean- 
ing in design, and incongruous in association. 

It seems, then, that in the approach to the Italian villa, 
we have discovered great nationality and great beauty, 



THE POETEY OF AECHITECTUBE. 99 

more than we could have expected, but a beauty, 
utterly untransferable from its own settled habitation. In 
our next paper we shall proceed to the building itself, which 
will not detain us long, as it is generally simple in its design, 
and take a general view of villa architecture over Italy. 

"We have bestowed considerable attention on this style 
of Garden Architecture, because it has been much 
abused by persons of high authority, and general good 
taste, who forgot, in their love of grace and ideal beauty, 
the connexion with surrounding circumstances so mani- 
fest even in its formality. Eustace, we think, is one of 
these ; and although it is an error of a kind he is perpetu- 
ally committing, he is so far right, that this mannerism is 
frequently carried into excess even in its own peculiar do- 
main, then becoming disagreeable, and is always a dange- 
rous style in inexperienced hands. T7e, think, however, 
paradoxical as the opinion may appear, that every one who 
is a true lover of Nature, and has been bred in her wild 
school, will be an admirer of this symmetrical designing, 
in its place ; and will feel, as often as he contemplates it, 
that the united effect of the wide and noble steps, with the 
pure water dashing over them like heated crystal, the long 
shadows of the cypress groves, the golden leaves and glo- 
rious light of blossom of the glancing aloes, the pale 
statues gleaming along the heights in their everlasting 
death in life, their motionless brows looking down for- 
ever on the loveliness in which their beings once dwelt, 
marblfi forms of more than mortal grace lightening along 



100 THE POETRY OF ARCiriTECTUIfcE. 

the green arcades, amidst dark cool grottoes, full of tin 
voice of dashing waters, and of the breath of myrtle bios 
soms, with the blue of the deep lake and the distant pre 
cipice mingling at every opening with the eternal snows 
glowing in their noontide silence, is one not unworthy oi 
Italy's most noble remembrances. 

Having considered the propriety of the approach, it 
remains for us to investigate the nature of the feelings 
excited by the villas of the Lago di Como in particular, 
and of Italy in general. 

"We mentioned that the bases of the mountains border- 
ing the Lake of Como were chiefly composed of black 
marble ; black, at least, when polished, and very dark 
grey in its general effect. This is very finely stratified in 
beds varying in thickness from an inch to two or three 
feet; and these beds, taken of a medium thickness, 
form flat slabs, easily broken into rectangular fragments, 
which, being excessively compact in their grain, are admi- 
rably aiapted fora building material. There is a little 
pale limestone* among the hills to the south; but this 

* Pale limestone, with dolomite. A coarse dolomite forms the mass 
of mountains on the east of Lake Lecco, Monte Campione, &c., and 
part of the other side, as well as the Monte del Novo, above Oadenabia : 
but the bases of the hills, along the tfwre of the Lake of Lecco, and all 
the mountains on both sides of the lower limb of Como, are black lime- 
stone. The whole northern half of the lake is bordered by gneiss 
or mica slate, with tertiary deposit where torrents enter it. So that 
the dolomite is only obtainable by ascending the hills, and incurring 
considerable expense of carriage ; while the rocks of the shore split 
Into blocks of their own accord, and are otherwise an excoUent material 



THE POETKY OF AECHITECTTJEE. 101 

marble, or primitive limestone (for it is not highly crystal- 
line), is not only more ea?y of access, but a more durable 
stone. Of this, consequently, almost all the buildings on 
the lake shore are built ; and, therefore, were their mate- 
rial unconcealed, would be of a dark, monotonous, and 
melancholy grey tint, equally uninteresting to the eye, and 
depressing to the mind. To pi-event this result, they 
are covered with different compositions, sometimes 
white, more frequently cream-coloured, and, of vary- 
ing depth; the mouldings and pilasters being fre- 
quently of deeper tones than the walls. The inside of the 
grottoes, however, when not cut in the rock itself, are left 
uncovered, thus forming a strong contrast with the white- 
ness outside ; giving great depth, and permitting weeds and 
flowers to root themselves on the roughnesses, and rock 
streams to distil through the fissures of the dark stones ; 
while all parts of the building to which the eye is drawn, 
by their form or details (except the capitals of the pilas- 
ters, such as the urns, the statues, the steps, or balustrades, 
are executed in very fine white marble, generally from 
the quarries of Carrara, winch supply quantities of frag- 
ments of the finest quality, which, nevertheless, owing to 
their want of size, or to the presence of conspicuous veins, 
are unavailable for the higher purposes of sculpture. 

Now, the first question is, is this very pale colour desi- 
rable 1 It is to be hoped so, or else the whole of Italy 
must be pronounced full of impropriety. The first cir- 
cumstance in its favour is one which, though connected 



102 TJIE POETRY OF AECIIITECTUKE. 

only with lake scenery, we shall notice at length, as it is a 
point of high importance in our own country. When a 
small piece of quiet water reposes in a valley, or lies em- 
bosomed among crags, its chief beauty is derived from our 
perception of crystalline depth, united with excessive 
slumber. In its limited surface we cannot get the subli- 
mity of extent, but we may have the beauty of peace, and 
the majesty of depth. The object must therefore be, to 
get the eye,off its surface,, and to draw it down, to beguile 
it into that fairy land underneath, which is more beautiful 
than what it repeats, because it is all full of dreams unat- 
tainable and illimitable. This can only be done by keep- 
ing its edge out of sight, and guiding the eye off the land 
into the reflection, as if it were passing into a mist, until 
it finds itself swimming into the blue sky, with a thrill of 
unfathomable falling. (If there be not a touch of sky at 
the bottom, the water will be disagreeably black, and the 
clearer the more fearful.) Now, ore touch of white reflec- 
tion of an object at the edge will destroy the whole illusion, 
for it will come like the flash of light on armour, and will 
show the surface, not the depth : it will tell the eye where- 
abouts it is; will define the limit of the edge; and will 
turn the dream of limitless depth into a small, uninterest- 
ing, reposeless piece of water. In all small lakes or pools, 
therefore, steep borders of dark crag, or of thick foliage, are 
to be obtained, if possible ; even a shingly shore will spoil 
them : and this was one reason, it will be remembered, 
for our admiration of the colour of the Westmoreland 



THE POETEY OF AT.CniTECTUKE. 103 

cottage, because it never broke the repose of water by its 
reflection. But this principle applies only to small pieces 
of water, on which we look down, as much as along the 
surface. As soon as we get a sheet, even if only a mile 
across, we lose depth ; first, because it is almost impossible 
to get the surface without a breeze on some part of it ; and, 
again, because we look along it, and get a great deal of 
sky in the reflection, which, when occupying too much 
space, tells as mere flat light. But we may have the beauty 
of extent in a very high degree ; and it is therefore desir- 
able to know how far the water goes, that we may have a 
clear conception of its space. ISfow, its border, at a great 
distance, is always lost, unless it be defined b} a very dis- 
tinct line ; and such a line is harsh, flat, and cutting on the 
eye. To avoid this, the border itself should be dark, as in 
the other case, so that there may be no continuous horizon- 
tal line of demarcation ; but one or two bright white 
objects should be set here and there along or near the edge : 
their reflections will flash on the dark water, and will in- 
form the eye in a moment of the whole distance and trans- 
parency of the surface it is traversing. "When there is a 
slight swell on .the water, they will come down in long, 
beautiful, perpendicular lines, mingling exquisitely with 
the streaky green of reflected foliage ; when there is none, 
they become a distinct image of the object they repeat, 
endowed with infinite repose. 

These remarks, true of small lakes whose edges are 
green, apply with far greater force to sheets of water on 



104 THE POETET OF AECHITECTUEE. 

vrliicli the ere passes over ten or twenty miles in one long 
irliiiiee, and the prevailing colour of whose borders is, as 
we noticed when speaking of the Italian cottage, blue. 
The white reriections are here excessively valuable, gh ing 
space, brilliancy, and transparency ; and furnish one very 
powerful apology,, even did other objections render an apo- 
logy necessary, for the pale tone of the colour of the villas, 
whose reflections, owing to their size and conspicuous situ- 
ations, always take a considerable part in the scene, and 
are therefore things to be attentively considered in the 
erection of such buildings, particularly in a climate whose 
calmness renders its lakes quiet for the greater part of the 
day. Nothing, in fact, can be more beautiful than the 
intermingling of these bright lines with the darkness of 
the reversed cypresses seen against the deep azure of the 
distant hills in the crystalline waters of the lake, of which 
some one aptly says, " Deep within its azure rest, white 
villages sleep silently ; " or than their columnar perspec- 
tive, as village after village catches the light, and strikes 
the image to the very quietest recess of the narrow water, 
and the very furthest hollow of the folded hills. 

From all this, it appears that the effect of the white villa 
in water is delightful. On land it is quite as important, 
but more doubtful. The first objection, which strikes us 
instantly when we imayine such a building, is, the want 
of repose, the startling gl are of effect, induced by its un- 
subdued tint. But this objection does not strike us when 
we see the building; a circumstance which was partly 



THE POETEY OP AECHITECTUEE. 105 

accounted for before, in speaking of the cottage, and which 
we shall presently see further cause not to be surprised 
at. A more important objection is, that such whiteness 
destroys a great deal of venerable character, and harmo- 
nises ill with the melancholy tones of surrounding land- 
scape : and this requires detailed consideration. Paleness 
of colour destroys the majesty of a building ; first, by hint- 
ing at a disguised and humble material ; and, secondly, by 
taking away all appearance of age. TTe shall speak of the 
effect of the material presently ; but the deprivation of 
apparent antiquity is dependent in a great degree on the 
colour, and in Italy, where, as we saw before, everything 
ought to point to the past, is a serious injury, though, for 
several reasons, not so fatal as might be imagined ; for we 
do not require, in a building raised as a light summer- 
house, wherein to while away a few pleasure hours, the 
evidence of ancestral dignity, without which the chateau 
or palace can possess hardly any beauty. We know that 
it is originally built rather as a plaything than as a monu- 
ment ; as the delight of an individual, not the possession 
of a race ; and the very lightness and carelessness of feel- 
ing with which such a domicile is entered and inhabited 
by its first builder would demand, to sympathise and keep 
in unison with them, not the kind of building adapted to 
excite the veneration of ages, but that which can most, 
gaily minister to the amusement of hours. For all men 
desire to have memorials of their actions, but none of theii 

recreations ; inasmuch as we only wish that to be remem* 
6* 



106 THE POETET OF AECIIITECTUKE. 

bered which others will not, or cannot, perform or experi 
ence ; and we know that all men can enjoy recreation as 
much as ourselves. We wish succeeding generations to 
admire our energy, but not even to be aware of our lassi- 
tude ; to know when we moved, but not when we rested ; 
huw we ruled, not how we condescended : and, therefore, 
in the case of the triumphal arch, or the hereditary palace, 
if we are the builders, we desire stability ; if the behold- 
ers, we are offended with novelty : but, in the case of the 
villa, the builder desires only a correspondence with his 
humour; the beholder, evidence of such correspondence ; 
for he feels that the villa is most beautiful when it minis- 
ters most to pleasure ; that it cannot minister to pleasure 
without perpetual change, so as to suit the varying ideas, 
and humours, and imaginations of its inhabitant ; and that 
it cannot possess this light and variable habit with any ap- 
pearance of antiquity. And, for a yet more important 
reason, such appearance is not desirable. Melancholy, 
when it is productive of pleasure, is accompanied either 
by loveliness in the object exciting it, or by a feeling of 
pride in the mind experiencing it. Without one' of these, 
it becomes absolute pain, which all men throw off as soon 
as they can, and suffer under as long as their minds are too 
weak for the effort. . ISTow, when it is accompanied by 
loveliness in the object exciting it, it forms beauty ; when 
by a feeling of pride, it constitutes the pleasure we ex 
perience in tragedy, when we have the pride of endurance, 
or in contemplating the ruin, or the monument, by which 



THE POETUY OF ARCHITECT tTEE. 107' 

we are informed or reminded of the pride of the past, 
Hence, it appears that age is beautiful only when it is the 
decay of glory or of power, and memory only delightful 
when it reposes upon pride.* All remains, therefore, of 
what was merely devoted to pleasure ; all evidence of lost 
enjoyment ; all memorials of the recreation and rest of 
the departed ; in a word, all desolation of delight, is pro- 
ductive of mere pain, for there is no feeling of exultation 
connected with it Thus, in any ancient habitation, we 
pass with reverence and pleasurable emotion through the 
ordered armoury, where the lances lie, with none to 
wield ; through the lofty hall, where the crested scutch- 
eons glow with the honour of the dead : but we turn sickly 
away from the arbour which has no hand to tend it, and 
the boudoir which lias no life to lighten it, and the smooth 
sward which has no light feet to dance on it. So it is in 
the villa : the more memory the more sorrow ; and, there- 
fore, the less adaptation to its present purpose. But, 
though cheerful, it should be ethereal in its expression : 
" spirituel " is a good word, giving ideas of the very high- 
est order of delight that can be obtained in the mere pre- 
sent. It seems, then, that for all these reasons an appear- 
ance of age is not desirable, far less necessary, in the 

* Observe, we are not speaking of emotions felt on remembering 
what we ourselves have enjoyed, for then the imagination is productive 
of pleasure by replacing us in enjoyment, but of the feelings excited in 
the indifferent spectator, by the evident decay of power or desolation of 
enjoyment, of which the first ennobles, the other only harrows, the 
spirit. 



108 THE POETET OF ARCHITECTURE. 

villa; but its existing character must be in unison with 
its country ; and it must appear to be inhabited by one 
brought up in that country, and imbued with its national 
feelings. In Italy, especially, though we can even here 
dispense with one component part of elevation of charac- 
ter, age, we must have all the others : we must have high 
feeling, beauty of form, and depth of effect, or the thing 
will be a barbarism ; the inhabitant must be an Italian, 
full of imagination and emotion : a villa- inhabited by an 
Englishman, no matter how close its imitation of others, 
will always be preposterous. 

"We find > therefore, that white is not to be blamed in 
the villa for destroying its antiquity; neither is it repre- 
hensible, as harmonising ill with the surrounding land- 
scape; on the contrary, it adds to its brilliancy, without 
taking away from its depth of tone. 'We shall consider it 
as an element of landscape, more particularly, when we 
come to speak of grouping. 

There remains only one accusation to be answered, viz., 
that it hints at a paltry and unsubstantial material : and 
this leads us to the second question, Is this material allow- 
able ? If it were distinctly felt by the eye to be stucco, 
there could be no question about the matter, it would be 
decidedly disagreeable ; but all the pails to which the eye is 
attracted are executed in marble, and the stucco merely 
forms the dead flat of the building, not a single wreath of 
ornament being formed of it. Its surface is smooth and 
bright, and altogether avoids what a stone building, when 



THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 109 

not built of large masses, and uncharged with ornament, 
always forces upon the attention, the rectangular lines of 
the blocks, which, however nicely fitted they may be, are 
" horrible ! most horrible ! " There is also a great deal of 
ease and softness in the angular lines of the stucco, which 
are never sharp or harsh, like those of stone ; and it re- 
receives shadows with great beauty, a point of infinite im- 
portance in this climate ; giving them lightness and trans- 
parency, without any diminution of depth. It is also 
rather agreeable to the eye, to pass from the sharp carv- 
ing of the marble decorations to the ease and smoothness 
of the stucco ; while the utter want of interest in those 
pails which are executed in it prevents the humility of the 
material f -om being offensive ; for this passage of the eye 
from the marble to the composition is managed with the dex- 
terity of the artist, who, that the attention, may be drawn to 
the single point of the picture which is his subject, leaves 
the rest so obscured and slightly painted, that the mind 
loses it altogether in its attention to the principal feature. 
With all, however, that can be alleged in extenuation of 
its faults, it cannot be denied that the stucco does take 
away so much of the dignity of the building, that, unless 
we find enough bestowed by its form and details to counter- 
balance, and a great deal more than counterbalance, the 
deterioration occasioned by tone and material, the whole 
edifice must be condemned, as incongruous with the 
spirit of the climate, and even with the character of ita 
own gardens and approach. It remains, therefore, to no- 



110 THE POETEY OF AECniTEOTTTeE. 

tice the details themselves. Its form is simple to a de- 
gree ; the roof generally qiiite flat, so as to leave the mass 
in the form of a parallelepiped, in general without wings 
or adjuncts of any sort. Villa Sornma-Uiva (Fig. 28 in p. 
93 j 3 is a good example of this general form and propor- 
tion, though it has an arched passage on each side, which 
takes away from its massiness. This excessive weight of 
effect would be injurious, if the building were set by 
itself ; but, as it always forms the apex of a series of com- 
plicated terraces, it both relieves them and gains great dig- 
nity by its own unbroken simplicity of size. This general 
effect of form is not injured, when, as is often the case, 
an open passage is left in the centre of the building, 
under tall and well-proportioned arches, supported by 
pilasters (never by columns). Villa Porro, Lago di Como 
(Fig. 31), is a good example of this method. The arches 
hardly ever exceed three in number, and these are all of 
the same size, so that the crowns of the arches continue the 
horizontal lines of the rest of the building. Were the 
centre one higher than the others, these lines would be in- 
terrupted, and a great deal of simplicity lost. The covered 
space under these arches is a delightful, shaded, and 
breezy retreat in the heat of the clay ; and the entrance 
doors usually open into it, so that a current of cool air is 
obtainable by throwing them open. 

The building itself consists of three floors : we remem- 
ber no instance of a greater number, and only one or two 
of fewer. It is, in general, crowned with a light balus- 



THE POETRY OF AECHITECTUEE. 
Fig. 30. 



111 




112 THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 

trade, surmounted by statues at intervals. The windows 
of the uppermost floor are usually square, often without 
any architrave. Those of the principal floor are sur- 
rounded with broad architraves, but are frequently desti- 
tute of frieze or cornice. They have usually flat bands at 
the bottom, and their aperture is a double square. Their 
recess is very deep, so as not to let the sun fall far into 
the interior. The interval between them is very variable. 
In some of the villas of highest pretensions, such as those 
on the banks of the JBrenta, that of Isola Bella, and others, 
which do not face the south, it is not much more than the 
breadth of the two architraves, so that the rooms within, 
are filled with light. When this is the case, the windows 
have friezes and cornices. But, when the building fronts 
the south, the interval is often very great, as in the case of the 
Yilla Porro. The ground-floor windows are frequently set in 
tall arches, supported on deeply engaged pilasters, as in Fig. 
23, p. 93 (Somma-Biva). The door is not large, and never 
entered by high steps, as it generally opens on a terrace of 
considerable height, or on a wide landing-place at the head of 
a fl ight of fifty or sixty steps descending through the gardens. 
Kow, it will be observed, that, in these general forms, 
though there is no splendor, there is great dignity. The 
lines throughout are simple to a degree, entirely uninter- 
rupted by decorations of "any kind, so that the beauty of 
their proportions is left visible and evident We shall see 
hereafter that ornament in Grecian architecture, while, 
when well managed, it always adds to its grace, invaria- 



THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 113 

bly takes away from its majesty; and that these two 
attributes never can exist together in their highest degrees. 
By the utter absence of decoration, therefore, the Italian 
villa, possessing, as it usually does, great beauty of pro- 
portion, attains a degree of elevation of character, which 
impresses the niind in a manner which it finds difficult to 
account for by any consideration of its simple details or 
moderate size; while, at the same time, it lays so little 
claim to the attention, and is so subdued in its character, 
that it is enabled to occupy a conspicuous place in a land- 
scape, without any appearance of intrusion. The glance 
of the beholder rises from the labyrinth of terrace and 
arbor beneath, almost weariedly ; it meets, as it ascends, 
with a gradual increase of bright marble and simple light, 
and with a proportionate diminution of dark foliage and 
complicated shadow, till it rests finally on a piece of sim- 
ple brilliancy, chaste and unpretending, yet singularly 
dignified ; and does not find its colour too harsh, because its 
form is so simple : for colour of any kind is only injurious 
when the eye is too much attracted to it ; and, when there 
is so much quietness of detail as to prevent this misfor- 
tune, the building will possess the cheerfulness, without 
losing the tranquillity, and will seem to have been erected, 
and to be inhabited, by a mind of that beautiful tempera- 
ment wherein modesty tempers majesty, and gentleness 
mingles with rejoicing, which, above all others, is most suit- 
ed to the essence, and most interwoven with the spirit, of the 
natural beauty -yhose peculiar power is invariably repose. 



THE POETEY OF AEOHITECTTTKE. 

So much for its general character. Considered by prin- 
ciples of composition, it will also be found beautiful. Its 
prevailing lines are horizontal; and every artist knows 
that, where peaks of any kind are in sight, the lines above 
which they rise ought to be flat. It has not one acute an- 
gle in all its details, and very few intersections of verticals 
with horizontals ; while all that do intersect seem useful 
as supporting th mass. The just application of the 
statues at the top is more doubtful, and is considered re- 
prehensible by several high authorities, who, nevertheless, 
are inconsistent enough to let the balustrade pass un- 
calumniated, though it is objectionable on exactly the 
same grounds ; for, if the statues suggest the enquiry of 
" What are they doing there ? " the balustrade compels its 
beholder to ask, " whom it keeps from tumbling over ? " 
The truth is, that the balustrade and statues derive their 
origin from a period when there was easy access to the 
roof of either temple or villa ; (that there was such access 
is proved by a passage in the Iphigema Taurica, line 
113, where Orestes speaks of getting up to the triglyphs 
of a Doric temple as an easy matter ;) and when the flat 
roofs were used, not, perhaps, as an evening promenade, 
as in Palestine, but as a place of observation, and occa- 
sionally of defence. They were composed of large flat 
slabs of stone (/cepdpo?*), peculiarly adapted for walking, 

* Iii the large buildings, that is : Kepdfj.os also signifies earthen tiling, 
and sometimes earthenware in general, as in Herodotus, iii. 6. It ap- 
pears that such tiling was frequently used in smaller edifices. Che 



THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 115 

one or two of which, when taken up, left an opening of 
easy access into the house, as in Luke, v. 19, and were 
perpetually used in Greece as missile weapons, in the event 
of a hostile attack or sedition in the city, by parties of 
old men, women, and children, who used, as a matter of 
course, to retire to the roof as a place of convenient de- 
fence. By such attacks from the roof with the Are/>a/zo9 
the Thebans were thrown into confusion in Platsea, 
(Thucyd., ii. 4.) So, also, we find the roof immediately 
resorted to in the case of the starving of Pausanias in the 
Temple of Minerva of the Brazen House, and in that of 
the massacre of the aristocratic party at Corey ra (Thucyd.^ 
iv. 4:8) : 'Avaddvres Se en-l TO re/09 TOV olKijfjLaros, /cal 
SieXoVre? TTJV opo^yv, 0a\\ov rw teepdfjiq). Now, where 
the roof was thus a place of frequent resort, there could 
be no more useful decoration than a balustrade ; nor one 
more appropriate or beautiful, than occasional statues in 
attitudes of watchfulness, expectation, or observation: 
and even now, wherever the roof is flat, we have an idea 
of convenience and facility of access, which still renders 
the balustrade agreeable, and the statue beautiful, if well 
designed. It must not be a figure of perfect peace or re- 
pose, far less should it be in violent action ; but it should 
be fixed in that quick startled stillness, which is the result 



Greeks may have derived their flat roofs from Egypt. Herodotus 
mentions of the Labyrinth of the Twelve Kings, that bpo^ 5e irayr&v 
Tovrtav KQivi), but not as if the circumstance were in the least extra* 
ordinary. 



116 THE POETEY OF ARCHITECT UEE. 

of intent observation or expectation, aiid which seems 
ready to start into motion every instant. Its height should 
he slightly colossal, as it is always to be seen against the 
skv ; and its draperies should not be too heavy, as the eye 
will always expect them to be caught by the wind. We 
shall enter into this subject, however, more fully hereafter. 
We only wish at present to vindicate from the charge of 
impropriety one of the chief features of the Italian villa. 
Its white figures, always marble,, remain entirely unsullied 
by the weather, 1 and stand out with great majesty against 
the blue air behind them, taking away from the heaviness, 
without destroying the simplicity, of the general form. 

It seems, then, that, by its form and details, the villa of 
the Lago di Como attains so high a degree of elevation of 
character, as not only brings it into harmony of its locus, 
without any assistance from appearance of antiquity, but 
may, we think, permit it to dispense even with solidity of 
material, and appear in light summer stucco, instead of 
raising itself in imperishable marble. And this conclu- 
sion, which is merely theoretical, is verified by fact ; for 
we remember no instance, except in cases where poverty 
had overpowered pretension, or decay had turned rejoicing 
into silence, in which the lightness of the material was of- 
fensive to the feelings ; in all cases, it is agreeable to the 
eye. "Where is it allowed to get worn, and discoloured, 
and broken, it induces a wretched mockery of the dignified 
form which it preserves ; but, as long as it is renewed at 
proper periods, and watched over by the eye of its inhabi- 



THE POETRY OF AKCHITECTtJBE. 117 

tant, it is an excellent and easily managed medium of 
effect. 

With all the praise, however, which we have bestowed 
upon it, we do not say that the villa of the Larian Lake is 
perfection ; indeed, we cannot say so. until we have compared 
it with a few other instances, chiefly to be found in Italy, 
on whose soil we delay, as being the native country of 
the villa, properly so called, and as even yet being almost 
the only spot of Europe where any good specimens of it are 
to be found: for we do not understand by the term " villa," 
a cubic erection, with one window on each side of a ver- 
dant door, and three in the second and uppermost story, 
such as the word suggests to the fertile imagination of 
ruralising cheesemongers ; neither do we understand the 
quiet and unpretending country house of a respectable 
gentleman ; neither do we understand such a magnificent 
mass of hereditary stone as generally forms the autumn re- 
treat of an English noble ; but we understand the light 
but elaborate summer habitation, raised however and 
wherever it pleases his fancy, by some individual of great 
wealth and influence, who can enrich it with every attri- 
bute of beauty; furnish it with eveiy appurtenance of 
pleasure ; and repose in it with the dignity of a mind trained 
to exertion or authority. Such a building could not exist 
in Greece, where every district a mile and a quarter square 
was quarrelling \vith all its neighbours. It could exist, 
and did exist, in Italy, where the Eonian power secured 
tranquillity, and the Roman constitution distributed its 



THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 

authority among a great number of individuals, on whom, 
while it raised them to a position of great influence, and, 
in its later times, of wealth, it did not bestow the power 
of raising palaces or private fortresses. The villa was 
their peculiar habitation, their only resource, and a most 
agreeable one ; because the multitudes of the kingdom be- 
ing, for a long period, confined to a narrow territory, 
though ruling the world, rendered the population of the 
city so dense, as to drive out its higher ranks to the 
neighbouring hamlets of Tibur and Tusculum. In other 
districts of Europe the villa is not found, because in very 
perfect monarchies, as in Austria, the power is thrown 
chiefly into the hands of a few, who build themselves pal- 
aces, not villas ; and in perfect republics, as in Switzer- 
land, the power is so split among the multitude, that no- 
body can build himself anything. In general, in king- 
doms of great extent, the country house becomes the per- 
manent and hereditary habitation ; and the villas are all 
crowded together, and form gingerbread rows in the en 
virons of the capital ; and, in France and Germany, the 
excessively disturbed state of affairs in the middle ages 
compelled every petty baron or noble to defend himself, 
and retaliate on his neighbours as best he could, till the 
villa was lost in the chateau and the fortress ; and men now 
continue to build as their forefathers built (and long may 
they do so), surrounding the domicile of pleasure with a 
moat and a glacis, and guarding its garret windows with 
turrets and towers: while, in England, the nobles, com- 



THE POETKY OF ARCHITEOTUBE. 119 

paratively few, and of great power, inhabit palaces, not 
villas ; and the rest of the population is chieflj crowded 
into cities, in the activity of commerce, or dispersed over 
estates in that of agriculture ; leaving only one grade of 
gentry, who have neither the taste to desire, nor the power 
to erect, the villa, properly so called. 

We must not, therefore, be surprised, if, on leaving 
Italy, where the crowd of proverty-stricken nobility can 
still repose their pride in the true villa, we find no farther 
examples of it worthy of consideration, though we hope to 
have far greater pleasure in contemplating its substitutes, 
the chateau and the fortress. We must be excused, there- 
fore, for devoting one paper more to the state of villa 
architecture in Italy ; after which we shall endeavour to 
apply the principles we shall have deduced to the correc- 
tion of some abuses in the erection of English coun- 
try houses, in cases where scenery would demand beauty 
of design, and wealth permit finish of decoration. 



I. The Italian Villa. 

WE do not think there is any truth in the aphorism, now 
so frequently advanced in England, that the adaptation of 
shelter to the corporal comfort of the human race is the 
original and true end of the art of architecture, properly 
so called : for, were such the case, he would be the most 



120 THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 

distinguished architect who was best acquainted with the 
properties of cement, with the nature of stone, and the 
various durability of wood. That such knowledge is ne- 
cessary to the perfect architect we do not deny ; but it is 
no more the end and purpose of his application, than a 
knowledge of the alphabet is the object of the refined 
scholar, or of rhythm of the inspired poet. For, supposing 
that we were for a moment to consider that we built 
a house merely to be lived in, and that the whole bent of 
our invention, in raising the edifice, is to be directed to the 
provision of comfort for the life to be spent therein ; sup- 
posing that we built it with the most perfect dryness and 
coolness of cellar, the most luxurious appurtenances of 
pantry ; that we build our walls with the most compacted 
strength of material, the most studied economy of space ; 
that we leave not a chink in the floor for a breath of wind 
to pass through, not a hinge in the door, which, by any 
possible exertion of its irritable muscles, could creak ; that 
we elevate our chambers into exquisite coolness, furnish 
them with every ministry to luxury of rest, and finish them 
with every attention to the maintenance of general health, 
as well as the prevention of present inconvenience ; to do 
all this, we must be possessed of great knowledge and 
various skill ; let this knowledge and skill be applied with 
the greatest energy, and what have they done ? Exactly 
as much as brute animals can do, by mere instinct ; noth- 
ing more than bees and beavers, moles and magpies, ants 
and earwigs, do every day of their lives, without the 



THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 121 

slightest effort of reason ; we have made ourselves superior 
as architects to the most degraded animation of the uni- 
verse, only insomuch as we have lavished the highest 
efforts of intellect, to do what they have done with the 
most limited sensations that can constitute life. The mere 
preparation of convenience, therefore, is not architecture 
-in which man can take pride, or ought to take delight ; 
but the high and ennobling art of architecture is, that of 
giving to buildings, whose parts are determined by neces- 
sity, such forms and colours as shall delight the mind, by 
preparing it for the operations to which it is to be subjected 
in the building : and thus, as it is altogether to the mind 
that the work of the architect is addressed, it is not as a 
part of his art, but as a limitation of its extent, that he 
must be acquainted with the minor principles of the econo- 
my of domestic erections. For this reason, though we 
shall notice every class of edifice, it does not come within 
our proposed plan, to enter into any detailed consideration 
of the inferior buildings of each class, which afford no 
scope for the play of the imagination by their nature or 
size ; but we shall generally select the most perfect and 
beautiful examples, as those in which alone the architect 
has the power of fulfilling the high purposes of his art 
In the villa, however, some exception must be made, inas- 
much as it will be useful, and, perhaps, interesting, to 
arrive at some fixed conclusions respecting the modern 
buildings, improperly called villas, raised by moderate 

wealth, and of limited size, in which the architect is com- 
6 



122 THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 

pelled to produce his effect without extent or decoration. 
The principles which we have hitherto arrived at, deduced 
as they are from edifices of the noblest character, will be 
but of little use to a country gentleman, about to insinuate 
himself and his habitation into a quiet corner of our lovely 
country ; and, therefore we must glance at the more hum- 
ble homes of the Italian, preparatory to the consideration - 
of what will best suit our own less elevated scenery. 

First, then, we lose the terraced approach, or, at least, 
its size and splendour, as these require great wealth to 
erect them, and perpetual expense to preserve them. For 
the chain of terraces we find substituted a simple garden, 
somewhat formally laid out; but redeemed from the 
charge of meanness by the nobility and size attained by 
most of its trees ; the line of immese cypresses which gene- 
rally surrounds it in part, and the luxuriance of the vege- 
tation of its flowering shrubs. It has frequently a large 
entrance gate, well designed, but carelessly executed; 
sometimes singularly adorned with fragments of exquisite 
ancient sculpture, regularly introduced, which the spec- 
tator partly laments, as preserved in a mode so incongruous 
with their ancient meaning, and partly rejoices over, as 
preserved at all. The grottoes of the superior garden are 
here replaced by light ranges of arched summer-houses, de- 
signed in stucco, and occasionally adorned in their interior 
withfrescopaintings of considerable brightness and beauty. 

All this, however, has very little effect in introducing 
the eye to the villa itself, owing to the general want of 



THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 123 

inequality of level in the ground, so that the main build- 
ing becomes an independent feature, instead of forming 
the apex of a mass of various architecture. Consequently, 
the weight of form which in the former case it might, 
and even ought to, possess, would here be cumbrous, ugly, 
and improper; and accordingly, we find it got rid of. 
This is done, first by the addition of the square tower, a 
feature which is not allowed to break in upon the sym- 
metry of buildings of high architectural pretensions ; but 
is immediately introduced, whenever less richness of 
detail, or variety of approach, demands or admits of 
irregularity of form. It is a constant and most important 
feature in Italian landscape: sometimes high and appa- 
rently detached, as when it belongs to sacred edifices ; 
sometimes low and strong, united with the mass of the 
fortress, or varying the form of the villa. It is always 
simple in its design, flat-roofed, its corners being turned 
by very slightly projecting pilasters, which are carried up 
the whole height of the tower, whatever it may be, with- 
out any regard to proportion, terminating in two arches 
on each side, in the villa most frequently filled up, though 
their curve is still distinguished by darker tint and slight 
relief. Two black holes on each side, near the top, are 
very often the only entrances by which light or sun can 
penetrate. These are seldom actually large, always pro- 
portionably small, and destitute of ornament or relief. 
The forms of the villas to which these towers are attached 
are straggling, and varied by many crossing masses ; but 




124 THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 

the great principle of simplicity is always kept in view, 
everything is square and terminated by parallel lines; no 
tall chimneys, 110 conical roofs, no fantastic ornaments are 
ever admitted: the arch alone is allowed to relieve the 
stiffness of the general effect. This is introduced fre- 
quently, but not in the windows, which are either squares 
or double squares, at great distances from each other, set 
deeply into the walls, and only adorned with broad flat 

borders, as in Fig. 32. Where more light is 
FIST. 32. 

required they are set moderately close, and 

protected by an outer line of arches, deep 
enough to keep the noonday sun from enter- 
ing the rooms. These lines of arches cast 
soft shadows along the bright fronts, and 
are otherwise of great value. Their effect is pretty well 
seen in Fig. S3 ; a piece which, while it has no distin- 
guished beauty, is yet pleasing by its entire simplicity; 
and peculiarly so, when we know that simplicity to have 
been chosen (some say, built) for its last and lonely habit- 
ation, by a mind of softest passion as of purest thought ; 
and to have sheltered its silent old age among the blue 
and quiet hills, till it passed away like a deep lost melody 
from the earth, leaving a light of peace about the grey 
tomb at which the steps of those who pass by always 
falter, and aronnd this deserted and decaying, and calm 
habitation of the thoughts of the departed ; Petrarch's, at 
Arqua. A more familiar instance* of the application of 
these arches is the villa of Mecsenas at Tivoli, though it 



126 THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 

is improperly styled a villa, being pretty well known to 
have been nothing but stables. 

The buttress is the only remaining point worthy of 
notice. It prevails to a considerable extent among the 
villas of the south, being always broad and tall, and occa- 
sionally so frequent as to give the building, viewed later- 
ally, a pyramidal and cumbrous effect. The most usual 
form is that of a simple sloped mass, terminating in the 
wall, without the slightest finishing, and rising at an angle 
of about 84. Sometimes it is perpendicular, sloped at 
the top into the wall ; but it never has steps of increasing 
projection as it goes down. By observing the occurrence 
of these buttresses, an architect, who knew nothing of 
geology, might accurately determine the points of most 
energetic volcanic action in Italy ; for their use is to pro- 
tect the building from the injuries of earthquakes, the 
Italian having far too much good taste to use them, except 
in cases of extreme necessity. Thus, they are never found 
in North Italy, even in the fortresses. They begin to 
occur among the Apennines, south of Florence ; they be- 
come more and more frequent and massy towards Home ; 
in the neighbourhood of Naples they are huge and multi- 
tudinous, even the walls themselves being sometimes 
sloped ; and the same state of things continues as we go 
south, on the coasts of Calabria and Sicily. Now, these 
buttresses present one of the most extraordinary and 
striking instances of the beauty of adaptation of style to 
locality and peculiarity of circumstance, that can be met 



THE POETEY OF AECHITECTUEE. 127 

with in the whole range of architectural investigation, 
Taken in the abstract, they are utterly detestable, formal, 
clumsy, and apparently unnecessary. Their builder thinks 
so himself : he hates them as things to be looked at, though 
he erects them as things to be depended upon. He has 
no idea that there is any propriety in their presence, 
though he knows perfectly well that there is a great deal 
of necessity; and, therefore, he builds them. Where? 
On rocks whose sides are one mass of buttresses, of pre- 
cisely the same form ; on rocks which are cut and cloven 
by basalt and lava dykes of every size, and which, being 
themselves secondary, wear away gradually by exposure to 
the atmosphere, leaving the intersecting dikes standing 
out in solid and vertical walls, from the faces of their 
precipices. The eye passes over heaps of scoriae and 
sloping banks of ashes, over the huge ruins of more 
ancient masses, till it trembles for the fate of the crags 
still standing round ; but it finds them ribbed with basalt 
like bones, buttresses with a thousand lava walls, propped 
upon pedestals and pyramids of iron, which the pant and 
the pulse of the earthquake itself can scarcely move, for 
they are' its own work ; it climbs up to their summits, and 
there it finds the work of man ; but it is no puny domicile, 
no eggshell imagination, it is in a continuation of the 
mountain itself, inclined at the same slope, ribbed in the 
same manner, protected by the same means against the 
same danger; not, indeed, filling the eye with delight, 
but, which is of more importance, freeing it from fear 



128 THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 

and beautifully corresponding with the prevalent lines 
around it, which a less massive form would have rendered, 
in some cases, particularly about Etna, even ghastly. 
Even in the lovely and luxuriant views from Capo di 
Monte, and the heights to the east of Naples, the spectator 
looks over a series of volcanic eminences, generally, 
indeed, covered with rich verdure, but starting out here 
and there in gray -and worn walls, fixed at a regular slope, 
and breaking away into masses more and more rugged 
towards Vesuvius, till the eye gets thoroughly habituated 
to their fortress-like outlines. Throughout the whole of 
this broken country, and, on the summits of these volcanic 
cones, rise innumerable villas ; but they do not offend us, 
as we should have expected, by their attestation of cheer- 
fulness of life amidst the wrecks left by destructive 
operation, nor hurt the eye by non-assimilation with the 
immediate features of the landscape : but they seem to 
rise prepared and adapted for resistance to, and endurance 
of, the circumstances of their position ; to be inhabited 
by beings of energy and force sufficient to decree and to 
carry on a steady struggle with opposing elements, and of 
taste and feeling sufficient to proportion the form of the 
walls of even to the clefts in the flanks of the volcano, 
and to prevent the exultation and the lightness of tran- 
sitory life from startling, like a mockery, the eternal 
remains of disguised desolation. 

"We have always considered these circumstances as most 
remarkable proofs of the perfect dependence of architec- 



THE POETRY OF AROHITECTUE"E. 129 

ture on its situation, and of the utter impossibility of 
judging of the beauty of any building in the abstract: 
and we would also lay much stress upon them, as showing 
with what boldness the designer may introduce into his 
building, undisguised, such parts as local circumstances 
render desirable ; for there will invariably be something 
in the nature of that which causes their necessity, which 
will endow them with beauty. 

These, then, are the principal features of the Italian 
villa, modifications of which, of course more or less dig- 
nified in size, material, or decoration, in proportion to 
the power and possessions of their proprietor, may be 
considered as composing every building of that class in 
Italy. A few remarks on their general effect will enable 
us to conclude the subject. 

"We have been so long accustomed to see the horizontal 
lines and simple forms which, as we have observed, still 
prevail among the Ausonian villas, used with the greatest 
dexterity, and the noblest effect, in the compositions of 
Claude, Salvator, and Poussin; and so habituated to 
consider those compositions as perfect models of the 
beautiful, as well as the pure in taste ; that it is difficult 
to divest ourselves of prejudice, in the contemplation of 
the sources from which those masters received their 
education, their feeling, and their subjects. We would 
hope, however, and we think it may be proved, that in 
this case principle assists and encourages prejudice. First, 

referring only to the gratification afforded to the eye 
6* 



130 THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 

which we know to depend iipon fixed mathematical 
principles, though those principles are not always de- 
veloped, it is to be observed, that country is always most 
beautiful when it is made up of curves, and that one of 
the chief characters of Ausonian landscape is, the per- 
fection of its curvatures, induced by the gradual undula- 
tion of promontories into the plains. In suiting archi- 
tecture to such a country, that building which least inter- 
rupts the curve on which it is placed will be felt to be 
FIG. 34. most delightful to the eye, 

Let us take then the sim- 
pie form a Zed, interrupt- 

* U S ^e curve G e * Now, 
the eye will always con- 
tinue the principal lines of such an object for itself, until 
they cut the main curve ; that is, it will carry on a 5 to 0, 
and the total effect of the interruption will be that of the 
form c d e. Had the line J d been nearer a c, the effect 
would have been just the same. Now, every curve may 
be considered as composed of an infinite number of lines 
at right angles to each other, as m n is made up of o jp, 
p q, &c. (Fig. 34:), whose ratio to each other varies with the 
direction of the curve. Then, if the right lines which 

FIG. 35 form the curve at c (Fig. 35) be 

n increased, we have the figure G d 
e, that is, the apparent inter- 
ruption of the curve is an in 
creased part of the curve itself. 






THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 131 

To the mathematical reader we can explain our meaning 
more clearly, by pointing out that, taking c for our origin, 
we have a c, a e, for the co-ordinates of <?, and that, there 
fore, their ratio is the equation to the curve. Whence it 
appeal^, that, when any curve is broken in upon by a 
building composed of simple vertical and horizontal 
lines, the eye is furnished, by the interruption, with the 
equation to that part of the curve which is interrupted. 
If, instead of square forms we take obliquity, as r s t (Fig. 
Fia. 36. 36), we have one line, s t, an absolute 
break, and the other, T s, in false pro- 
portion. If we take another curve, we 
have an infinite number of lines, only 
two of which are where they ought to be. And this is 
the true reason for the constant introduction of features 
which appear to be somewhat formal, into the most 
perfect imaginations of the old masters, and the true 
cause of the extreme beauty of the groups formed by 
Italian villages in general. 

Thus much for the mere effect on the eye. Of cor- 
respondence with national character, we have shown that 
we must not be disappointed, if we find little in the villa. 
The nnfrequency of windows in the body of the building 
is partly attributed to the climate ; but the total exclusion 
of light from some parts, as the base of the central 
tower, carries our thoughts back to the ancient system of 
Italian life, when every man's home had its dark, secret 
places, the abodes of his worst passions, whose shadows 



132 THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 

were alone intrusted with the motion of his thoughts; 
whose walls became the whited sepulchres of crime ; 
whose echoes were never stirred except by such words as 
they dared not repeat ; * from which the rod of power, or 
the dagger of passion, came forth invisible ; before whose 
stillness princes grew pale, as their fates were prophesied 
or fulfilled by the horoscope or the hemlock ; and nations, 
as the whisper of anarchy or of heresy was avenged by 
the opening of the low doors, through which those who 
entered returned not. 

The mind of the Italian, sweet and smiling in its 
operations, deep and silent in its emotions, was thus, in 
some degree, typified by those abodes into which he was 
wont to retire from the tumult and wrath of life, to 
cherish or to gratify the passions which its struggles had 
exited ; abodes which now gleam brightly and purely 
among the azure mountains, and by the sapphire sea, but 
whose stones are dropped with blood ; whose vaults are 
black with the memory of guilt and grief unpunished and 
unavenged, and by whose walls the traveller hastens fear- 
fully, when the sun has set, lest he should hear, awakening 
again through the horror of their chambers, the faint wail 
of the children of TJgolino, the ominous alarm of Bonatti, 
or the long low cry of her who perished at Coil-Alto. 

Oxford, July, 1838. 

* Shelley has caught the feeling finely : " The house is penetrated 
to its corners by the peeping insolence of the day. When the time 
comes the crickets shaU not see me." Cenci* 



THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 133 

II. The Lowland Villa. England. 

ALTHOUGH, as we have frequently observed, our chief 
object in these papers is, to discover the connexion exist- 
ing between national architecture and character, and, 
therefore, is one leading us rather to the investigation of 
what is, than of what ought to be, we yet consider that the 
subject would be imperfectly treated, if we did not, at the 
conclusion of the consideration of each particular rank of 
building, endeavor to apply such principles as may have 
been demonstrated to the architecture of our country, and 
to discover the lean ideal of English character, which 
should be preserved through all the decorations which the 
builder may desire, and through every variety which fancy 
may suggest. There never was, and never can be, a uni- 
versal beau ideal in architecture, and the arrival at all 
local models of beauty would be the task of ages ; but we 
can always, in some degree, determine those of our own 
lovely country. "We cannot, however, in the present case, 
pass from the contemplation of the villa of a totally dif- 
ferent climate, to the investigation of what is beautiful 
here, without the slightest reference to styles now, or 
formerly, adopted for our own " villas," if such they are to 
be called ; and, therefore, it will be necessary to devote a 
short time to the observance of the peculiarities of such 
styles, if we possess them, or, if not, of the causes of theii 
absence. 

We have therefore headed this paper, "The Yilla, Eng- 



134 THE POETEY OF AEOHITECTUKE. 

land ;" awakening, without doubt, a different idea in tha 
mind c f every one who reads the words. Some, accus> 
toined to the appearances of metropolitan villas, will think 
of brick buildings, with infinite appurtenances of black- 
nicked chimney-pots, and plastered fronts, agreeably 
varied with graceful cracks and nndulatory shades of pink, 
brown, and green, communicated to the cement by smoky 
showers. Others will imagine large, square, many- win- 
dowed masses of white, set with careful choice of situa- 
tion, exactly where they will spoil the landscape to such 
a conspicuous degree, as to compel the gentlemen travel 
ling on the outside of the mail to enquire of the guard, 
with great eagerness, " whose place that is ;" and to enable 
the guard to reply, with great distinctness, that it belongs 

to Squire , to the infinite gratification of Squire , 

and the still more infinite edification of the gentlemen 011 
the outside of the mail. Others will remember masses of 
very red brick, groined with stone ; with columnar porti- 
coes, about one-third of the height of the building, and 
two niches, with remarkable-looking heads and bag-wigs 
in them, on each side ; and two teapots, with a pocket- 
handkerchief hanging over each (described to the astonished 
spectators as " Grecian urns"), located upon the roof, just 
under the chimneys. Others will go back to the range of 
Elizabethan gables ; but none will have any idea of a fixed 
character, stamped on a class of national edifices. This is 
very melancholy and very discouraging ; the more so, as 
it not without cause. In the first place, Britain unites in 



THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 135 

itself, so many geological formations, each giving a pecu- 
liar character to the country which it composes, that there 
is hardly a district five miles broad, which preserves the 
same features of landscape through its whole width.* If, 
for example, six foreigners were to land severally at Glas- 
gow, at Aberystwith, at Falmouth, at Brighton, at Tar 
mouth and at Newcastle, and to confine their investigations 
to the country within twenty miles of them, what different 
impressions would they receive of British landscape ! If, 
therefore, there be as many forms of edifice as there are 
peculiarities of situation, we can have no national style ; 
and, if we abandon the idea of a correspondence with 
situation, we lose the only criterion capable of forming a 
national style.f 

* Length is another thing : we might divide England into strips of 
country, running southwest and northeast, which would be composed 
of the same rock, and, therefore, would present the same character 
throughout the whole of their length. Almost all our great roads cut 
these transversely, and, therefore, seldom remain for ten miles together 
on the same beds. 

t It is thus that we find the most perfect schools of architecture have 
arisen in districts whose character is unchanging. Looking- to Egypt 
first, we find a climate inducing a perpetual state of heavy feverish ex- 
citement, fostered by great magnificence of natural phenomena, and 
increased by the general custom of exposing the head continually to the 
the sun (Herod. Thalia, xii.) ; so that, as in a dreaming fever, we im- 
agine distorted creatures and countenances moving and living in the 
quiet objects of the chamber. The Egyptian endowed all existence 
with distorted animation; turned dogs into deities, and leeks into 
lightning-darters ; then gradually invested the blank granite with sculp- 
tured mystery, designed in superstition, and adored in disease; and 
then such masses of architecture arose as, in delirium, we feel crushing 
down upon us with eternal weight, and see extending far into th 



136 THE POETKY OF AECHITECTUBK 

Another cause to be noticed is, the peculiar indepen 
deuce of the Englishman's disposition ; a feeling which 
prompts him to suit his own humour, rather than fall in 
with the prevailing cast of social sentiment, or of natural 
beauty and expression ; and which, therefore, there being 
much obstinate originality in his mind, produces strange 
varieties of dwelling, frequently rendered still more pre- 
posterous by his love of display ; a love universally felt 
in England, and often absurdly indulged. Wealth is 
worshipped in France, as the means of purchasing 
pleasure; in Italy, as an instrument of power; in England, 
as the means " of showing off." It would be a very great 
sacrifice indeed, in an Englishman of the average stamp, 
to put his villa out of the way, where nobody would ever 
see it, or think of Mm : it is his ambition to hear every 
one exclaiming, " What a pretty place ! whose can it be?" 

blackness above ; huge and shapeless colnmns of colossal life ; immense 
and immeasurable avenues of mountain stone. This was a perfect, that 
is, a marked, enduring, and decided school of architecture, induced by 
an unchanging and peculiar character of climate. Then, in the purer 
air, and among the more refined energies of Greece, architecture rose 
into a more studied beauty, equally perfect in its school, because fos- 
tered in a district not 50 miles square, and in its dependent isles and 
colonies, all of which were under the same air, and partook of the same 
features of landscape. In Rome, it became less perfect, because more 
imitative than indigenous, and corrupted by the travelling, and conquer- 
ing, and stealing ambition of the Roman ; yet still a school of architec- 
ture, because the whole of Italy presented the same peculiarities of scene. 
So with the Spanish and Moresco schools, and many others ; passing 
over the Gothic, which, though we hope hereafter to show it to be nc 
exception to the rule, involves too many complicated questions to be 
ao\v brought forward as a proof of it. 



THE POETJRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 137 

and he cares very little about the peace which he has dis- 
turbed, or the repose which he has interrupted ; though 
even while he thus pushes himself into the way, he keeps 
an air of sulky retirement, of hedgehog independence, 
about his house, which takes away any idea of sociability 
or good humour, which might otherwise have been sug- 
gested by his choice of situation. But, in spite of all 
these unfortunate circumstances, there are some dis- 
tinctive features in our English country houses, which are 
well worth a little attention. First, in the approach, we 
have one component part of effect, which may be called 
peculiarly our own, and which requires much study be- 
fore it can be managed well, the avenue. It is true, 
that we meet with noble lines of timber trees cresting 
some of the larger bastions of Continental fortified cities ; 
we see interminable regiments of mistletoed apple trees 
flanking the carriage road ; and occasionally we approach 
a turreted chateau* by a broad way, " edged with poplar 
pale." But, allowing all this, the legitimate glory of the 
perfect avenue is ours still, as will appear by a little con- 
sideration of the elements which constitute its beauty. 
The original idea was given by the opening of the tangled 
glades in our most ancient forests. It is rather a curious 
circumstance, that, in those woods whose decay has been 
chiefly instrumental in forming the bog districts of Ireland, 

* Or a city. Any one who remembers entering Carlsruhe from the 
north, by the two miles of poplar avenue, remembers entering the most 
soulless of all cities, by the most lifeless of all entrances. 



138 THE POETKT OF ARCHITECTURE. 

tlie trees have, in general, been planted in symmetrical 
rows, at distances of about twenty feet apart. If the 
arrangement of our later woods be not quite so formal, 
they, at least, present frequent openings, carpeted with 
green sward, and edged with various foliage, which the 
architect (for so may the designer of the avenue be 
entitled) should do little more than reduce to symmetry 
and place in position, preserving, as much as possible, the 
manner and the proportions of nature. The avenue, there- 
fore, must not be too long. It is quite a mistake, to sup- 
pose that there is sublimity in a monotonous length of 
line, unless, indeed, it be carried to an extent generally 
impossible, as in the case of the long walk at "Windsor. 
From three to four hundred yards is a length which will 
display the elevation well, and will not become tiresome 
from continued monotony. The kind of tree must, of 
course, be regulated by circumstances; but the foliage 
must be unequally disposed, so as to let in passages of 
light across the path, and cause the motion of any object 
along it to change, like an undulating melody, from dark- 
ness to light. It should meet at the top, so as to cause 
twilight, but not obscurity, and the idea of a vaulted roof, 
without rigidity. The ground should be green, so that 
the sun-light may tell with force wherever it strikes. 
JTow, this kind of rich and shadowy vista is found in its 
perfection only in England : it is an attribute of green 
country ; it is associated with all our memories of forest 
freedom, of our wood rangers, and yeomen with the 



THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 139 

"doublets of the Lincoln green ; " with our pride of ancient 
archers, whose art was fostered in such long and breezeless 
glades; with our thoughts of the merry chases of our 
kingly companies, when the dewy antlers sparkled down 
the intertwined paths of the windless woods, at the morn- 
ing echo of the hunter's horn ; with all, in fact, that once 
contributed to give our land its ancient name of " merry" 
England ; a name which, in this age of steam and iron, it 
will have some difficulty in keeping. 

This, then, is the first feature we would direct attention 
to, as characteristic, in the English villa: and be it re- 
membered, that we are not speaking of the immense lines 
of foliage which guide the eye to some of our English 
palaces, for those are rather the adjuncts of the park than 
the approach to the building ; but of the more laconic 
avenue, with the two crested columns and the iron gate at 
its entrance, leading the eye, in the space of a hundred 
yards or so, to the gables of its grey mansion. A good 
instance of this approach may be found at Petersham, by 
following the right side of the Thames for about half a 
mile from Blchmond Hill ; though the house, which, in 
this case, is approached by a noble avenue, is much to be 
reprehended, as a bad mixture of imitation of the Italian 
with corrupt Elizabethan; though it is somewhat in 
structive, as showing the ridiculous effect of statues out 
of doors in a climate like ours. 

And now that we have pointed out the kind of approach 
most peculiarly English, that approach will guide us to 



140 THE POETET OF ARCHITECTTIBE. 

the only style of villa architecture which can be called 
English, the Elizabethan, and its varieties ; a style fan- 
tastic in its details, and capable of being subjected to no 
rule, but, as we think, well adapted for the scenery in 
which it arose. "We allude not only to the pure Eliza- 
bethan, but even to the strange mixtures of classical orna- 
ments with Gothic f orinSj which we find prevailing in the 
sixteenth century. In the most simple form, we have a 
building extending around three sides of a court, and, in 
the larger halls, round several interior courts, terminating 
in sharply gabled fronts, with broad oriels divided into 
very narrow lights by channeled mullions, without decora- 
tion of any kind ; the roof relieved by projecting dormer 
windows, whose lights are generally divided into three, 
terminating in very flat arches without cusps, the interme- 
diate edge of the roof being battlemented. Then we find 
wreaths of ornament introduced at the base of the oriels ;* 
ranges of short columns, the base of one upon the capital 
of another, running up beside them ; the bases being very 
tall, sometimes decorated with knots of flower-work ; the 
columns usually fluted, wreathed, in richer examples, with 
ornament. The entrance is frequently formed by double 
ranges of these short columns, with intermediate niches, 
with shell canopies, and rich crests above.f This portico 

* As in a beautiful example in Brasen-nose College, Oxford. 

f The portico of the schools, and the inner courts, of Merton and St. 
John's Colleges, Oxford ; an old house at Charlton, Kent ; and Burleigh 
House, will probably occur to the mind of the architect, as good exam.' 
pies of the varieties of this mixed style. 



THE POETEY OF AECHITECTUEE. 141 

is carried up to some height above the roof, which is 
charged with an infinite variety of decorated chimneys. 
Now, all this is utterly barbarous as architecture ; but, with 
the exception of the chimneys, it is not false in taste ; for it 
was originally intended for retired and quiet habitations in 
our forest country, not for conspicuous palaces in the streets 
of the city ; and we have shown, in speaking of green coun- 
try, that the eye is gratified with fantastic details ; that it is 
prepared, by the mingled lights of the natural scenery, for 
rich and entangled ornament, and would not only endure, 
but demand, irregularity of system in the architecture of 
man, to correspond with the infinite variety of form in the 
wood architecture of nature. Fe\v surprises can be im- 
agined more delightful than the breaking out of one of 
these rich gables, with its decorated entrance, among the 
dark trunks and twinkling leaves of forest scenery. Such 
an effect is rudely given in Fig. 37. We would direct the 
attention chiefly to the following points in the building : 
First, it is a humorist, an odd, twisted, independent be- 
ing, with a great deal of mixed, obstinate, and occasionally 
absurd, originality. It has one or two graceful lines about 
it, and several harsh and cutting ones : it is a whole, which 
would allow of no unison with any other architecture ; it is 
gathered in itself, and would look very ugly indeed, if 
pieces in a purer style of building were added. All this 
corresponds with points of English character, with its hu- 
mours, its independency, and its horror of being put out 
of its own way. Again, it is a thoroughly domestic build- 



142 



THE FOETKY OF ABCHITEOTTJKE. 
FIG. 37. 




ing, homely and cottage-like in its prevailing forms, 
awakening no elevated ideas, assuming no nobility of form. 
It has none of the pride, or the grace of beauty, none of 
the dignity of delight, which we found in the villa of 
Italy ; but it is a habitation of every-day life, a protection 



THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 143 

from momentary inconvenience, covered with stiff efforts 
at decoration, and exactly typical of the mind of its inhabi- 
tant : not noble in its taste, not haughty in its recreation, 
not pure in its perception of beauty ; but domestic in its 
pleasures, fond of matter of fact rather than of imagina- 
tion, yet sparkling occasionally with odd wit and grotesque 
association. The Italian obtains his beauty, as his recrea- 
tion, with quietness, with few and noble lines, with great 
seriousness and depth of thought, with very rare interrup- 
tions to the simple train of feeling. But the Englishman's 
villa is full of effort : it is a business with him to be play- 
ful, an infinite labour to be ornamental : he forces his 
amusement with fits of contrasted thought, with mingling 
of minor touches of humour, with a good deal of sulkiness, 
but with no melancholy \ and, therefore, owing to this last 
adjunct, the building, in its original state, cannot be called 
beautiful, and we ought not to consider the effect of its 
present antiquity, evidence of which is, as was before 
proved, generally objectionable in a building devoted to 
pleasure, and is only agreeable here, because united with 
the memory of departed pride. 

Again, it is a life-like building, sparkling in its case- 
ments, brisk in its air, letting much light in at the walls 
and roof, low and comfortable-looking in its door. The 
Italian's dwelling is much walled in, letting out no secrets 
from the inside, dreary and drowsy in its effect. Just 
such is the difference between the minds of the inhabitants; 
the one passing away in deep and dark reverie, the othei 



344: THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 

quick and business-like, enjoying its everyday occupations, 
and active in its ordinary engagements. 

Again, it is aregularly planned, mechanical, well-dis- 
ciplined building ; each of its parts answering to its oppo- 
site, each of its ornaments matched with similarity. The 
Italian (where it has no high pretence to architectural 
beauty) is a rambling and irregular edifice, varied with 
uncorresponding masses : and the mind of the Italian we 
find similarly irregular, a thing of various and ungovern- 
able impulse, without fixed principle of action ; the Eng- 
lishman's, regular and uniform in its emotions, steady in 
its habits, and firm even in its most trivial determinations. 

Lastly, the size of the whole is diminutive, compared 
with the villas of the south, in which the effect was always 
large and general. Here the eye is drawn into the investi- 
gation of particular points, and miniature details ; just as, in 
comparing the English and Continental cottages, we found 
the one characterised by a minute finish, and the other by 
a massive effect, exactly correspondent with the scale of 
the features and scenery of their respective localities. 

It appears, then, from the consideration of these several 
points, that, in our antiquated style of villa architecture, 
some national feeling may be discovered; but in any 
buildings now raised there is no character whatever : all is 
ridiculous imitation, and despicable affectation ; and it is 
much to be lamented, that now, when a great deal of 
attention has been directed to architecture on the part of 
the public, more efforts are not made to turn that attention 



THE FOETBY OF ARCHITECTURE. 145 

from mimicking Swiss ch&lets, to erecting English houses. 
We need not devote more time to the investigation of 
purely domestic English architecture, though we hope to 
derive much instructiop and pleasure from the contem- 
plation of buildings partly adapted for def ence, and partly 
for residence. The introduction of the means of defence 
is, however, a distinction which we do not wish at present 
to pass over ; and, therefore, in our next paper, we hope to 
conclude the subject of the villa, by a few remarks on the 
style now best adapted for English scenery. 



III. The English. Villa. Pri?iciples of Composition. 

IT has lately become a custom, among the more enlight- 
ened and refined of metropolitan shopkeepers, to advocate 
the cause of propriety in architectural decoration, by en- 
sconcing their shelves, counters, and clerks in classical ed- 
ifices, agreeably ornamented with ingenious devices, typi- 
cal of the class of articles to which the tradesman particu- 
larly desires to direct the public attention. We find our 
grocers enshrined in temples whose columns are of canis- 
ters, and whose pinnacles are of sugarloaves. Our shoe- 
makers shape their soles under Gothic portals, with pen- 
dants of shoes, and canopies of Wellingtons; and our 
cheesemongers will, we doubt not, soon follow the excellent 
example, by raising shops the varied diameters of whose 



146 THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 

jointed columns, in their address to the eye, shall awaken 
memories of Staffa, Paestum, and Palmyra ; and, in their 
address to the tongue, shall arouse exquisite associations of 
remembered flavour, Dutch, Stilton, and Strachino. Now, 
this fit of taste on the part, of our tradesmen is only a 
coarse form of a disposition inherent in the human mind. 
Those objects to which the eye has been most frequently 
accustomed, and among which the intellect has formed its 
habits of action, and the soul its modes of emotion, be- 
come agreeable to the thoughts, from their correspondence 
with their prevailing cast, especially when the business of 
life has had any relation to those objects ; for it is in the 
habitual and necessary occupation that the most painless 
hours of existence are passed : whatever be the nature of 
that occupation, the memories belonging to it will always be 
agreeable, and, therefore, the objects awakening such 
memories will invariably be found beautiful, whatever 
their character or form. It is thus that taste is the child 
and the slave of memory ; and beauty is tested, not by 
any fixed standard, but by the chances of association ; so 
that in every domestic building evidence will be found of 
the kind of life through which its owner has passed, in 
the operation of the habits of mind which that life has 
induced. From the superannuated coxswain, who plants 
his old ship's figure-head in his six square feet of front 
garden at Bennondsey, to the retired noble, the proud 
portal of whose mansion is surmounted by the broad 
shield and the crested gryphon, we are all guided, in our 



THE POETRY OF AECHITECTUEE. 

purest conceptions, our most ideal pursuit, of the beauti- 
ful, by remembrances of active occupation, and by prin- 
ciples derived from industry regulate the fancies of our 
repose. 

It would be excessively interesting to follow out the 
investigation of this subject more fully, and to show how 
the most refined pleasures, the most delicate perceptions, 
of the creature who has been appointed to eat bread by 
the sweat of his brow, are dependent upon, and intimate- 
ly connected with, his hours of labour. This question, 
however, has no relation to our immediate object, and we 
only allude to it, that we may be able to distinguish be- 
tween the two component parts of individual character ; 
the one being the consequence of continuous habits of 
life acting upon natural temperament and disposition, 
the other being the humour of character, consequent upon 
circumstances altogether accidental, taking stern effect 
upon feelings previously determined by the first part of 
the character ; laying on, as it were, the finishing touches, 
and occasioning the innumerable prejudices, fancies, and 
eccentricities, which, modified in every individual to an 
infinite extent, form the visible veil of the human heart. 

Now, we have defined the province of the architect to 
be, that of selecting such forms and colours as shall de- 
light the mind, by preparing it for the operations to which 
it is to be subjected in the building. Isow, no forms, in 
domestic architecture, can thus prepare it more distinctly 
than those which correspond closely with the first, that is, 



THE POETEY OF AECHITECTUEE. 

the fixed and fundamental, part of character, which is 
always so uniform in its action, as to induce great simpli- 
city in whatever it designs. Nothing, on the contrary, 
can be more injurous than the slightest influence of the 
humours upon the edifice ; for the influence of what is 
fitful in its energy, and petty in its imagination, would 
destroy all the harmony of parts, all the majesty of the 
whole; would substitute singularity for beauty, amuse- 
ment for delight, and surprise for veneration. "We could 
name several instances of buildings erected by men of 
the highest talent, and the most perfect general taste, who 
yet, not having paid much attention to the first principles 
of architecture, permitted the humour of their disposition 
to prevail over the majesty of their intellect, and, instead 
of building from a fixed design, gratified freak after 
freak, and fancy after fancy, as they were caught by the 
dream or the desire; mixed mimicries of incongruous 
reality with incorporations of undisciplined ideal ; awak- 
ened every variety of contending feeling and unconnected 
memory ; consummated confusion of form by trickery of 
detail; and have left barbarism, where half the world 
will look for loveliness. 

This is a species of error which it is very difficult for 
persons paying superficial and temporary attention to 
architecture to avoid : however just their taste may be in 
criticism, it will fail in creation. It is only in moments 
of ease and amusement that they will think of their villa : 
they make it a mere plaything, and regard it with a kind 



THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 

of petty exultation, which, from its very nature, will give 
liberty to the light fancy, rather than the deep feeling, of 
the mind. It is not thought necessary to bestow labour 
of thought, and periods of deliberation, on one of the 
toys of life ; still less to undergo the vexation of th cart- 
ing wishes, and leaving favourite imaginations, relating to 
minor points, unfulfilled, for the sake of general effect. 

This feeling, then, is the first to which we would direct 
attention, as the villa architect's chief enemy: he will 
find it perpetually and provokingly in his way. He is re- 
quested, perhaps, by a man of great wealth, nay, of estab- 
lished taste in some points, to make a design for a villa in 
a lovely situation. The future proprietor carries him up- 
stairs to his study, to give him what he calls his " ideas 
and materials," and, in all probability, begins somewhat 
thus : " This, sir, is a slight note : I made it on the spot: 
approach to Villa Keale, near Pozzuoli. Dancing nymphs, 
you perceive ; cypresses, shell fountain. I think I should 
like something like this for the approach : classical, you 
perceive, sir; elegant, graceful. Then, sir, this is a 
sketch, made by an American friend of mine: Whee- 
whaw-Kantamaraw's wigwam, king of the Cannibal 
Islands, I think he said, sir. Log, you observe ; scalps, 
and boa constrictor skins : curious. Something like this, 
sir, would look neat, I think, for the front door ; don't 
you? Then, the lower windows, Tve not quite decided 
upon ; but what would you say to Egyptian, sir? I think 
I should like my windows Egyptian, with hieroglypliics, 



150 THE POETKY OF AECIIITECTUKE. 

sir; storks and coffins, and appropriate mouldings above: 
I brought some from Fountains Abbey the other day. Look 
here, sir ; angels 5 heads putting their tongues out, rolled 
up in cabbage leaves, with a dragon on each side riding 
on a broomstick, and the devil looking on from the mouth 
of au alligator, sir.* Odd, I think; interesting. Then 
the corners may be turned by octagonal towers, like the 
centre one in Xenilworth Castle; with Gothic doors, port- 
cullis, and all, quite perfect ; with cross slits for arrows, 
battlements for musketry, machicolations for boiling lead, 
and a room at the top for drying plums ; and the conserv- 
atory at the bottom, sir, with Virginian creepers up the 
towers ; door supported by sphinxes, holding scrapers in 
their fore-paws, and having their tails prolonged into 
warm-water pipes, to keep the plants safe in winter, &c." 
The architect is, without doubt, a little astonished by 
these ideas and combinations ; yet he sits calmly down to 
draw his elevations, as if he were a stone-mason, or his 
employer an architect ; and the fabric rises to electrify 
its beholders, and confer immortality on its perpetrator. 
This is no exaggeration: we have not only listened to 
speculations on the probable degree of the future majesty, 
but contemplated the actual illustrious existence, of several 
such buildings, with sufficient beauty in the management 
of some of their features to show that an architect had 
superintended them, and sufficient taste in their interior 
economy to prove that a refined intellect had projected 
* Actually carved on one of the groins of Boslin ChapeL 



THE POETBY OF AECHITECTUEE. 151 

them ; and had projected a Yandalism, only because fancy 
liad been followed instead of judgment; with as much 
nonc/ialance as is evinced by a perfect poet, who is extem- 
porising doggerel for a baby; full of brilliant points, 
which he cannot help, and jumbled into confusion, for 
which he does not care. 

Such are the first difficulties to be encountered in villa- 
designs. They must always continue to occur in some 
degree, though they might be met with ease by a determi- 
nation on the part of professional men to give no assist- 
ance whatever, beyond the mere superintendence of con- 
struction, unless they be permitted to take the whole 
exterior design into their own hands, merely receiving 
broad instructions respecting the style (and not attending 
to them unless they like). They should not make out the 
smallest detail, unless they were answerable for the whole. 
*In this case, gentlemen architects would be thrown so 
utterly on their own resources, that, unless those resources 
were adequate, they would be obliged to surrender the 
task into more practised hands ; and, if they were ade- 
quate, if the amateur had paid so much attention to the 
art as to be capable of giving the design perfectly, it is 
probable he would not erect anything strikingly abomi- 
nable. 

Such a system (supposing that it could be carried fully 
into effect, and that there were no such animals as senti- 
mental stone-masons to give technical assistance) might, 
at first, seem rather an encroachment on the liberty of the 



152 THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 

subject, inasmuch as it would prevent people from indulg- 
ing their edificatorial fancies, unless they knew something 
about the matter, or, as the sufferers would probably com 
plain, from doing what they liked with their own* But 
the mistake would evidently lie in their supposing, as 
people too frequently do, that the outside of their house 
{3 their own, and that they have a perfect right therein to 
make fools of themselves in any manner, and to any ex- 
tent, they may think proper. This is quite true in the 
case of interiors : every one has an indisputable right to 
hold himself up as a laughing-stock to the whole circle of 
his friends and acquaintances, and to consult his own 
private asinine comfort by every piece of absurdity which 
can in any degree contribute to the same ; but no one has 
any right to exhibit his imbecilities at other people's ex- 
pense, or to claim the public pity by inflicting public pain. 
In England, especially, where, as we saw before, the rage, 
for attracting observation is universal, the outside of the 
villa is rendered, by the proprietor's own disposition, the 
property of those who daily pass by, and whom it hourly 
affects with pleasure or pain. For the pain which the eye 
feels from the violation of a law to which it has been ac- 
customed, or the mind from the occurrence of anything 
jarring to its finest feelings, is as distinct as that occasioned 
by the interruption of the physical economy, differing 
only inasmuch as it is not permanent ; and, therefore, an 
individual has as little right to fulfill his own conceptions 
by disgusting thousands, as, were his body as impenetrable 



THE POETBY OF AECniTECTURE. 153 

to steel or poison, as his brain to the effect of the beauti- 
ful or true, lie would have to decorate his carriage roada 
with caltrops, or to line his plantations with upas trees. 

The violation of general feelings would thus be unjust, 
even were their consultation productive of continued vexa- 
tion to the individual : but it is not. To no one is the 
architecture of the exterior of a dwelling-house of so little 
consequence as to its inhabitant. Its material may affect 
his comfort, and its condition may touch his pride ; but 
for its architecture, his eye gets accustomed to it in a 
week, and, after that, Hellenic, Barbaric, or Yankee, are 
all the same to the domestic feelings, are all lost in the one 
name of home. Even the conceit of living in a chalet, or 
a wigwam, or a pagoda, cannot retain its influence for six 
months over the weak minds which alone can feel it ; and 
the monotony of existence becomes to them exactly what 
it would have been had they never inflicted a pang upon 
the unfortunate spectators, whose accustomed eyes shrink 
daily from the impression to which they have not been 
rendered callous by custom, or lenient by false taste. If 
these conditions are just when they allude only to buildings 
in the abstract, how much more when referring to them 
as materials of composition, materials of infinite power, to 
adorn or destroy the loveliness of the earth. The nobler 
scenery of that earth is the inheritance of all her inhabit- 
ants : it is not merely for the few to whom it temporarily 
belongs, to feed from like swine, or to stable upon like 
horses, but it has been appointed to be the school of the 
7* 



154. THE POETKT OF AJBOHITEOTUEE. 

minds which are kingly among their fellows, to excite the 
highest energies of humanity, to furnish strength to the 
lordliest intellect, and food for the holiest emotions of the 
human soul. The presence of life is, indeed, necessary to 
its beauty, but of life congenial with its character; and 
that life is not congenial which thrusts presumptuously 
forward, amidst the calmness of the universe, the confusion 
of its own petty interests and grovelling imaginations, and 
stands up with the insolence of a moment, amidst the 
majesty of all time, to build baby fortifications upon the 
bones of the world, or to sweep the copse from the corrie, 
and the shadow from the shore, that fools may risk, and 
gamblers gather, the spoil of a thousand summers. 

It should therefore be remembered, by every proprietor 

of land in hill country, that his possessions are the means 

* 

of a peculiar education, otherwise unattainable, to the 
artists, and, in some degree, to the literary men, of his 
country ; that, even in this limited point of view, they are 
a national possession, but much more so when it is remem- 
bered how many thousands are perpetually receiving from 
them, not merely a transitory pleasure, but such thrilling 
perpetuity of pure emotion, such lofty subject for scientific 
speculation, and such deep lessons of natural religion, as 
only the work of a Deity can impress, and only the spirit 
of an immortal can feel : they should remember that the 
slightest deformity, the most contemptible excrescence, 
can injure the effect of the noblest natural scenery, as a 
note of discord can annihilate the expression of the purest 



THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 155 

harmony ; that thus it is in the power of worms to conceal, 
to destroy, or to violate, what angels could not restore, 
create, or consecrate ; and that the right, which every man 
unquestionably possesses, to be an ass, is extended only, in 
public, to those who are innocent in idiotism, not to the 
more malicious clowns who thrust their degraded motley 
conspicuously forth amidst the fair colours of earth, and 
mix their incoherent cries with the melodies of eternity, 
break with their inane laugh upon the silence which Cre- 
ation keeps where Omnipotence passes most visibly, and 
scrabble over with the characters of idiocy the pages that 
have been written by the finger of God. 

These feelings we would endeavour to impress upon all 
persons likely to have anything to do with embellishing, 
as it is called, fine natural scenery ; as they might, in some 
degree, convince both the architect and his employer of 
the danger of giving free play to the imagination in cases 
involving intricate questions of feeling and composition, 
and might persuade the designer of the necessity of look- 
ing, not to his own acre of land, or to his own peculiar 
tastes, but to the whole mass of forms and combination of 
impressions with which he is surrounded. 

Let us suppose, however, that the design is yielded en- 
tirely to the architect's discretion. Being a piece of 
domestic architecture, the chief object in its exterior 
design will be to arouse domestic feelings, which, as we 
saw before, it will do most distinctly by corresponding 
with the first part of character. Yet it is still more neces- 



156 THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 

sary that it should correspond with its situation ; and 
hence arises another difficulty, the reconciliation of cor- 
respondence with contraries ; for such, it is deeply to be 
regretted, are too often the individual's mind, and the 
dwelling-place it chooses. The polished courtier brings 
his refinement and duplicity with him, to ape the Arcadian 
rustic in Devonshire ; the romantic rhymer takes a plas- 
tered habitation, with one back window looking into the 
green park ; the soft votary of luxury endeavours to rise 
at seven, in some Ultima Thule of frost and storms ; and 
the rich stock-jobber calculates his per-centages among the 
soft dingles and woody shores of Westmoreland. When the 
architect finds this to be the case, he must, of course, con- 
tent himself with suiting his design to such a mind as 
ought to be where the intruder's is ; for the feelings which 
are so much at variance with themselves in the choice of 
situation, will not be found too critical of their domicile, 
however little suited to their temper. If possible, however, 
he should aim at something more ; he should draw his 
employer into general conversation ; observe the bent of 
his disposition, and the habits of his mind ; notice every 
manifestation of fixed opinions, and then transfer to his 
architecture as much of the feeling he has observed as is 
distinct in its operation. This he should do, not because 
the general spectator will be aware of the aptness of 
the building, which, knowing nothing of its inmate, 
he cannot be; nor to please the individual himself, 
which it is a chance if any simple design ever will, and 



THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 151 

who never will find out how well his character has been 
fitted ; but because a portrait is always more spirited than 
a composed countenance ; and because this study of human 
passions will bring a degree of energy, unity, and origi- 
nality into every one of his designs (all of which will ne- 
cessarily be different), so simple, so domestic, and so life- 
like, as to strike every spectator with an interest and a 
sympathy, for which he will be utterly unable to account, 
and to impress on him a perception of something more 
ethereal than stone or carving, somewhat similar to that 
which some will remember having felt disagreeably in 
their childhood, on looking at any old house authentically 
haunted. The architect will forget in his study of life the 
formalities of science, and, while his practised eye will 
prevent him from erring in technicalities, he will advance, 
with the ruling feeling, which, in masses of mind, is na- 
tionality, to the conception of something truly original, 
yet perfectly pure. 

He will also find his advantage in having obtained a 
guide in the invention of decorations of which, as we shall 
show, we would have many more in English villas than 
economy at present allows. Candidus complains, in his 
Note-Book, that Elizabethan architecture is frequently 
adopted, because it is easy, with a pair of scissors, to derive 
a zigzag ornament from a doubled piece of paper. But 
we would fain hope that none of our professional archi- 
tects have so far lost sight of the meaning of their art, as 
to believe that roughening stone mathematically is bestow- 



158 THE POETRY OF AKCH1TKCTUEB. 

ing decoration, though we are too sternly convinced that 
they believe mankind to be more shortsighted by at least 
thirty yards than they are] for they think of nothing but 
general effect in their ornaments, and lay on their flower- 
work so carelessly, that a good substantial captain's biscuit, 
with the small holes left by the penetration of the baker's 
four fingers, encircling the large one which testifies of the 
forcible passage of his thumb, would form quite as elegant 
a rosette as hundreds now perpetuated in stone. Now, 
there is nothing which requires study so close, or ex- 
periment so frequent, as the proper designing of ornament. 
For its use and position some definite rules may be given ; 
but, when the space and position have- been determined, 
the lines of curvature, the breadth, depth, and sharpness 
of the shadows to be obtained, the junction of the parte..of 
a group, and the general expression, will present question^ 
for the solution of which the study of years will sometimes 
scarcely be sufficient* ; for they depend upon the feeling 
of the eye and hand, and there is nothing like perfection 
in decoration, nothing which, in all probability, might not, 
by farther consideration, be improved. Now, in cases in 
which the outline and larger masses are determined by 
situation, the architect will frequently find it necessary to 

* For example, we would allow one of the modern builders of Gothic 
chapels a month of invention, and a botanic garden to work from, with 
perfect certainty that he would not, at the expiration of the time, be 
able to present us with one design of leafage equal in beauty to hun- 
dreds we could point out in the capitals and niches of Melrose and 
BosUn. 



THE POETBY OF ARCHITECTURE, 



159 



Fig. 38. 



fall back upon his decorations, as the only means oi 
obtaining character; and that which before was an 
unmeaning lump of jagged freestone, will become a part 
of expression, an accessory of beautiful design, varied in 
its form, and delicate in its effect. Then, instead of 
shrinking from his bits of ornament, as from things which 
will give him trouble to invent, and will answer no other 
purpose than that of occupying what would otherwise 
have looked blank, the designer will view them as an 
efficient cotps de reserve, to be brought up when the eye 
comes to close quarters with the edifice, to maintain and 
deepen the impression it has previously received. Much 
more time will be spent in the 
conception, much more labour 
in the execution, of such mean- 
ing ornament, but both will be 
well spent, and well reward- 
ed. 

Perhaps our meaning may 
be made more clear by Fig. 38, 
which is that of a window 
f ound in a domestic building of 
mixed and corrupt architecture, 
at Munich (which we give now, 
because we shall have occasion 
to allude to it hereafter). Its 
absurd breadth of moulding, so disproportionate to its 
cornice, renders it excessively ugly, but capable of great 




160 



THE POETBT OF ARCHITECTURE. 



variety of effect. It forms one of a range of four, turning 
an angle, whose mouldings join -each other, their double 
breadth being the whole separation of the apertures, which 
are something more than double squares. Now, by 
alteration of the decoration, and depth of shadow, we 
have Figs. 39 and 40. These three windows differ 
entirely in their feeling and manner, and are broad ex- 
amples of such distinctions of style as might be adopted 
severally in the habitations of the man of imagination, the 



Fig. 39. 



Fig. 40. 





man of intellect, and the man of feeling. If our alter- 
ations have been properly made, there will be no difficulty 
in distinguishing between their expressions, which we shall 
therefore leave to conjecture. The character of Fig. 38 
depends upon the softness with which the light is caught 



THE POETRY OF AECIIITEC'I UEE. 101 

upon its ornaments, which should not have a single hard 
line in them ; and on the, gradual, unequal, but intense, 
depth of its shadows. Fig. 39 should have all its forms 
undefined, and passing into one another, the touches of the 
chisel light, a grotesque face or feature occurring in parts, 
the shadows pale, but broad * ; and the boldest part of the 
carving kept in shadow rather than light. The third 
should be hard in its lines, strong in its shades, and quiet 
in its ornament. 

These hints will be sufficient to explain our meaning, 
and we have not space to do more, as the object of these 
papers is rather to observe than to advise. Besides, in 
questions of expression so intricate, it is almost impossible 
to advance fixed principles; every mind will have per- 
ceptions of its own, which will guide its speculations, 
every hand, and eye, and peculiar feeling, varying even 
from year to year. We have only started the subject of 
correspondence with individual character, because we 
think that imaginative minds might take up the idea with 
some success, as furnishing them with a guide in the 
variation of their designs, more certain than mere experi- 

* It is too much the custom to consider a design as composed of a 
certain number of hard lines, instead of a certain number of shadows of 
various depth and dimension. Though these shadows change their 
position in the course of the day, they are relatively always the same. 
They have most variety under a strong light without sun, most expres- 
sion with the sun. A little observation of the infinite variety of shade 
which the sun is capable of casting, as it touches projections of different 
curve and character, will enable the designer to be certain of his effects. 
"We shall have occasion to allude to this subject again. 



162 THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 

ment on unmeaning forms, or than ringing indiscriminate 
changes on component parts of established beauty. To 
the reverie, rather than the investigation, to the dream, 
rather than the deliberation, of the architect, we recom- 
mend it, as a branch of art in which instinct will do more 
than precept, and inspiration than technicality. The cor- 
respondence of our villa architecture with our natural 
scenery may be determined with far greater accuracy, and 
will require careful investigation. 

"We had hoped to have concluded the Yilla in this 
paper ; but the importance of domestic architecture at the 
present day, when people want houses more than for- 
tresses, safes more than keeps, and sculleries more than 
dungeons, is sufficient apology for delay. 

Oxford, August, 18SS. 



IV. The JSritish Villa. The Cultivated, or JBlue, 
. Country. Principles of Composition. 

Lsr the papers hitherto devoted to the investigation of 
villa architecture, we have contemplated the beauties of 
what may be considered as its model in its original and 
natural territory, and we have noticed the difficulties to 
be encountered in the just erection of villas in England. 
It remains only to lay down the general principles of com- 
position, which, in such difficulties, may, in some degree, 



TOE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 1C3 

servo as a guide. Into more than general principles it is 
not consistent with our plan to enter. One obstacle, which 
was more particularly noticed, was, as it may be remem- 
bered, the variety of the geological formations of the coun- 
try. This will compel us to nse the divisions of landscape 
formerly adopted in speaking of the cottage, and to inves- 
tigate severally the kind of domestic architecture required 
by each. 

First. Blue or cultivated country, which is to be con- 
sidered as including those suburban districts, in the neigh- 
borhood of populous cities, which, though more frequent- 
ly black than blue, possess the activity, industry, and life, 
which we before noticed as one of the characteristics of 
blue country. We shall not, however, allude to suburban 
villas at present ; first, because they are in country posses- 
sing nothing which can be spoiled by anything ; and, 
Secondly, because their close association renders them sub- 
ject to laws which, being altogether different from those 
by which we are to judge of the beauty of solitary villas, we 
shall have to develope in the consideration of street effects. 

Passing over the suburb, then, we have to distinguish be- 
tween the simple blue country, which is composed only of 
rich cultivated champaign, relieved in parts by low undu- 
lations, monotonous and uninteresting as a whole, though 
cheerful in its character, and beautiful in details of lanes 
and meadow paths ; and the picturesque blue country, 
lying at the foot of high hill ranges, intersected by their 
outworks, broken here and there into bits of crag and din- 



16i THE POETEY OF ABCIIITEOTUEE. 

gle scenery ; perpetually presenting prospects of exquisite 
distant beauty, and possessing, in its valley and river 
scenery, fine detached specimens of the natural "green 
country.' 5 This distinction we did not make in speaking 
of the cottage ; the effect of which, owing to its size, can 
extend only over a limited space ; and this space, if in 
picturesque blue country, must be either part of its mo- 
notonous cultivation, when it is to be considered asbelono*- 
ing to the simple blue country, or part of its dingle 
scenery, when it becomes green country ; and it would 
not be just, to suit a cottage, actually placed in one color, 
to the general effect of another color, with which it could 
have nothing to do. But the effect of the villa extends 
very often over a considerable space, and becomes part of 
the large features of the district ; so that the whole char- 
acter and expression of the visible landscape must be con- 
sidered, and thus the distinction between the two kinds of 
blue country becomes absolutely necessary. Of the first, 
or simple, we have already adduced, as an example, the 
greater part of the south of England. Of the second, or 
picturesque, the cultivated parts of the North and East 
Hidings of Torksliire, generally Shropshire, and the north 
of Lancashire, and Cumberland, beyond Caldbeck Fells, 
are good examples ; perhaps better than all, the country for 
twelve miles north, and thirty south, east, and west, of 
Stirling. 

Now, the matter-of-fact business-like activity of simple 
blue country has been already alluded to. This attribute 



TIIE POETET OF ARCHITECTURE. 165 

renders in it a plain palpable brick dwelling-house allow- 
able ; though a tiling which, in every country but the sim- 
ple- blue, compels every spectator of any feeling to send up 
aspirations, that builders who, like those of Babel, have 
brick for stone, may be put, like those of Babel, to con- 
fusion. Here, howevever, it is not only allowable, but 
even agreeable, for the following reasons : 

Its cleanness and freshness of color, admitting of little 
dampness or staining, firm in its consistence, not moulder- 
ing like stone, and therefore inducing no conviction of 
antiquity or decay, presents rather the appearance of such 
comfort as is contrived for the enjoyment of temporary 
wealth, than of such solidity as is raised for the inherit- 
ance of unfluctuating power. It is thus admirably suited 
for that country where all is change, and all activity ; 
where the working and money-making members of the 
community are perpetually succeeding and overpowering 
each other ; enjoying, each in his turn, the reward of his 
industry ; yielding up the field, the pasture, and the mine, 
to his successor, and leaving 110 more memory behind him, 
no farther evidence of his individual existence, than is left 
by a working bee, ia the honey for which we thank his 
class, forgetting the individual. The simple blue country 
may, in fact, be considered the dining-table of the nation ; 
from which it provides for its immediate necessities, at 
which it feels only its present existence, and in which it 
requires, not a piece of furniture adapted only to remind 
it of past refection, but a polished, clean, and convenient 



1C6 THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 

minister to its immediate wishes. No habitation, theref ore,. 
in this country, should look old : it should give an impres- 
sion of present prosperity, of swift motion and high energy 
of life; too rapid in its successive operation to attain 
greatness, or allow of decay, in its works. This is the 
first cause which, in this country, renders brick allowable. 

Again, wherever the soil breaks out in simple blue 
country, whether in the river shore, or the broken road- 
side bank, or the ploughed field, in nine cases ont of ten 
it is excessively warm in its colour, being either gravel or 
clay, the black vegetable soil never remaining free of 
vegetation. The warm tone of these beds of soil is an 
admirable relief to the blue of the distances, which we 
have taken as the distinctive f eatnre of the country, tend- 
ing to produce the perfect light without which no land- 
scape can be complete. Therefore the red of the brick is 
prevented from glaring upon the eye, by its falling in 
with similar colours in the ground, and contrasting finely 
with the general tone of the distance. This is another 
instance of the material which nature most readily fur- 
nishes being the right one. In almost all blue country, 
we have only to turn out a few spadefuls of loose soil, and 
we come to the bed of clay, which is the best material for 
the building ; whereas we should have to travel hundreds 
of miles, or to dig thousands of feet, to get the stone which 
nature does not want, and therefore has not given. 

Another excellence in brick is its perfect air of English 
respectability. It is utterly impossible for an edifice alto 



THE POETEY OF AKCHITECTTTEK. 1G7 

getlior of brick to look affected or absurd: it may look 
rude, it may look vulgar, it may look disgusting, in a 
wrong place ; but it cannot look foolish, for it is incapable 
of pretension. We may suppose its master a brute, or an 
ignoramus, but we can never suppose him a coxcomb : a 
bear he may be, a fop he cannot be ; and, if we find him. 
out of his place, we feel that it is owing to error, not to 
impudence; to self -ignorance, not to self-conceit; to the 
want, not the assumption, of feeling. It is thus that brick 
is peculiarly English in its effect: for we are brutes in 
many things, and we are ignorami in many things, and we 
are destitute of feeling in many things, but we are not 
coxcombs. It is only by the utmost effort, that some of our 
most highly gifted junior gentlemen can attain such dis- 
tinction of title ; and even then the honour sits ill upon 
them : they are but awkward coxcombs. Affectation * 
never was, and never will be, a part of English character : 
we have too much national pride, too much consciousness 
of our own dignity and power, too much established self- 

* The nation, indeed, possesses one or two interesting individuals, 
whose affectation is, as we have seen, strikingly manifested in their lake 
villas : but every rule has its exceptions ; and, even on these gifted per- 
sonages, the affectation sits so very awkwardly, so like a velvet bonnet 
on a ploughman's carroty hair, that it is evidently a late acquisition. 
Thus, one proprietor of land on Windennere, who has built unto 
himself a castellated mansion with round towers, and a Swiss cottage 
for a stable, has yet, with that admiration of the L % neat but not gaudy," 
which is commonly reported to have influenced the devil when he 
painted his tail pea-green, painted the rocks at the back of his house 
pink, that they may look clean. This is a little outcrop of English 
feeling in the midst of the assumed romance. 



1C3 THE POET/BY OF AECIIITECTUEE. 

satisfaction, to allow us to become ridiculous by imitative 
efforts ; and, as it is only by endeavouring to appear what 
he is not, that a man ever can become so, properly speak- 
ing, our truewitted Continental neighbours, who shrink 
from John Bull as a brute, never laugh at him as a fool. 
" II est bete, il ii'est pas pourtant sot." 

The brick house admirably corresponds with this part 
of English character ; for, unable as it is to be beautiful, 
or graceful, or dignified, it is equally unable to be absurd. 
There is a proud independence aboiit it, which seems con- 
scious of its own entire and perfect applicability to those 
uses for which it was built, and full of a good-natured in- 
tention to render every one who seeks shelter within its 
walls excessively comfortable : it therefore feels awkward 
in no company ; and, wherever it intrudes its good-hu- 
moured red face, stares plaster and marble out of coun- 
tenance, with an insensible audacity, which we drive out 
of such refined company, as we would a clown from a 
drawingroom, but which we nevertheless seek in its own 
place, as we would seek the conversation of the clown in 
his own turnip field, if he were sensible in the main. 

Lastly. Bi-ick is admirably adapted for the climate of 
England, and for the frequent manufacturing nuisances of 
English blue country : for the smoke, which makes marble 
look like charcoal, and stucco like mucl, only renders brick 
less glaring in its colour ; and the inclement climate, which 
makes the composition front look as if its architect had 
been amusing himself by throwing buckets of green watei 



THE POETKT OF AJXCIIITECTUEE. ^ 163 

down from the roof, and befure which the granite base of 
Stirling Castle is nioukleriiig into sand as iiuputent as ever 
was ribbed by ripple, wreaks its rage in vain upon the bits 
of baked clay, leaving them strong, and dry, and stainless, 
warm and comfortable in their effect, even when neglect 
has permitted the moss and walliiower to creep into their 
crannies, and mellow into something like beauty that 
which is always comfort. Damp, which fills many stones 
as it would a sponge, is defied by the brick ; and the 
warmth of every gleam of sunshine is caught by it, and 
stored up for future expenditure; so that, both actually 
and in its effect, it is peculiarly suited for a climate whoso 
changes are in general from bad to worse, and from worse 
to bad. 

These, then, are the principal apologies which the brick 
dwelling-house has to offer for its ugliness. They will, how- 
ever, only stand it in stead in the simple blue country ; and, 
even there, only when the following points are observed. 

First. The brick should neither be of the white, nor the 
very dark red, kind. The white is worse than useless as a 
colour : its cold, raw, sandy, neutral has neither warmth 
enough to relieve, nor grey enough to harmonise with, any 
natural tones ; it does not please the eye by warmth, in 
shade ; it hurts it, by dry heat in sun ; it has none of the 
advantages of effect which brick may have, to compensate 
for the vulgarity which it must have, and is altogether to 
be abhorred. The very bright red, again, is one of the 

ugliest warm colours that art ever stumbled upon : it is 
8 



170 THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 

never mellowed by damp or anything else, and spoils 
everything near it by its intolerable and inevitable glare. 
The moderately dark brick, of a neutral red, is to be 
chosen, and this, after a year or two, will be farther 
softened in its colour by atmospheric influence, and will 
possess all the advantages we have enumerated. It is 
almost unnecessary to point out its fitness for a damp 
situation, not only as the best material for securing the 
comfort of the inhabitant, but because it will the sooner 
contract a certain degree of softness of tone, occasioned 
by microscopic vegetation, which will leave no more brick- 
red than is agreeable to the feelings where the atmosphere 
is chill. 

Secondly. Even this kind of red is a very powerful 
colour ; and as, in combination with the other primitive 
colours, very little of it will complete the light, so, very 
little will answer every purpose in landscape composition, 
and every addition, above that little, will be disagreeable. 
Brick, therefore, never should be used in large groups of 
buildings, where those groups are to form part of land- 
scape scenery : two or three houses, partly shaded with 
trees, are all that can be admitted at once. There is no 
object more villainously destructive of natural beauty, than 
a large town, of very red briek, with very scarlet tiling, 
very tall cliimneys, and very few trees ; while there are 
few objects that harmonise more agreeably with the feeling 
of English ordinary landscape, than the large, old, solitary, 
brick manor house, with its group of dark cedars on the 



THE POETEY OF ARCHITECTURE. 171 

lawn in front, and the tall Drought-iron gates opening 
clown the avenue of approach. 

Thirdly. !Js"o stone quoining, or presence of any con- 
trasting colour, should be admitted. Quoins, in general 
(though, by the by, they are prettily managed in the old 
Tol booth of Glasgow, and some other antique buildings in 
Scotland), are only exetisable as giving an appearance of 
strength ; while their zigzag monotomy, when rendered 
conspicuous by difference of colour, is altogether detest- 
able. White cornices, niches, and the other superfluous 
introductions in stone and plaster, which some architects 
seem to think ornamental, only mock what they cannot 
mend, take away the whole expression of the edifice, 
render the brick-red glaring and harsh, and become them- 
selves ridiculous in isolation. Besides, as a general prin- 
ciple, contrasts of extensive colour are to be avoided in all 
buildings, and especially in positive and unmanageable 
tints. It is difficult to imagine whence the custom of 
putting stone ornaments into brick buildings could have 
arisen ; unless it be an imitation of the Italian custom of 
mixing marble with stucco, which affords it no sanction, 
as the marble is only distinguishable from the general 
material by the sharpness of the carved edges. The 
Dutch seem to have been the originators of the custom ; 
and, by the by, if we remember right, in one of the very 
finest pieces of colouring now extant, a landscape by 
Rubens (in the gallery at Munich, we think), the artist 
seems to have sanctioned the barbarism, by iiitroducirer a 



172 THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 

brick edifice, with white stone quoiniug. But the truth 
is, that he selected, the subject, partly under the influence 
of domestic feelings, the place being, as it is thought, his 
own habitation ; and partly as a piece of practice, present- 
ing such excessive difficulties of colour, as he, the lord of 
colour, who alone could overcome them, would peculiarly 
delight in overcoming ; and the harmony with which he 
has combined tints of the most daring force, and sharpest 
apparent contrast, in this edgy building, and opposed 
them to an uninteresting distance of excessive azure 
(simple blue country, observe), is one of the chief wonders 
of the painting : so that this masterpiece can no more 
furnish an apology for the continuance of a practice 
which, though it gives some liveliness of character 
to the warehouses of Amsterdam, is fit only for a 
place whose foundations are rnud, and whose in- 
habitants are partially animated cheeses, than Gara- 
vaggio's custom of painting blackguards should introduce 
an ambition among mankind in general of becoming fit 
subjects for his pencil. "We shall have occasion again to 
allude to this subject, in speaking of Dutch street effects 
Fourthly. It will generally be found to agree best with 
the business-like air of the blue country, if the house be 
excessively simple, and apparently altogether the minister 
of utility ; but, where it is to be extensive, or tall, a 
few decorations about the upper windows are desirable. 
These should be quiet and severe in their lines, and cut 
boldly in the brick itself. Some of the minor streets in 



THE POETRY OF ABCHITECTUEE. 173 

the King of Sardinia's capital are altogether of brick, 
very richly charged with carving, with excellent effect 5 
and furnish a very good model. Of course, no delicate 
ornament can be obtained, and no classical lines can be 
allowed; for we should be horrified by seeing that in brick 
which we have been accustomed to see in marble. The 
architect must be left to his own taste for laying on, spar- 
ingly and carefully, a few dispositions of well-propor- 
tioned line, which are all that can ever be required. 

These broad principles are all that need be attended to 
in simple blue country: anything will look well in it 
which is not affected ; and the architect, who beeps com- 
fort and utility steadily in view, and runs off into no ex- 
patiations of fancy, need never be afraid here of falling 
into error. 

But the case is different with the picturesque blue 
country.* ITere, owing to the causes mentioned in 
the notes at p. S6, we have some of the most elevated 
bits of landscape character, which the country, whatever 
it may be, can afford. Its first and most distinctive pecu- 
liarity is its grace ; it is all undulation and variety of line, 
one curve passing into another with the most exquisite 
softness, rolling away into faint and far outlines of various 
depths and decision, yet none hard or harsh ; and, in all 
probability, rounded off in the near ground into massy 

* In leaving simple blue country, we hope it need hardly be said that 
we leave bricks at once and for ever. Nothing can excuse them out oi 
their proper territory. 



174 THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 

forms of partially wooded hill, shaded downwards into 
winding dingles or cliffy ravines, each form melting im- 
perceptibly into the next, without an edge or angle. 

Its next character is mystery. It is a country peculiarly 
distinguished by its possessing features of great sublimity 
in the distance, without giving any hint in the foreground 
of their actual nature. A range of mountain, seen from a 
mountain peak, may have sublimity, but not the mystery 
with which it is invested, when seen rising over the farthest 
surge of misty blue, where everything near is soft and 
smiling, totally separated in nature from the consolidated 
clouds of the horizon. The picturesque blue country is 
sure, from the nature of the ground, to present some dis- 
tance of this kind, so as never to be without a high and 
ethereal mystery. 

The third and last distinctive attribute is sensuality. 
This is a startling word, and requires some explanation. 
In the first place, every line is voluptuous, floating, and 
wavy in its form ; deep, rich, and exquisitely soft in its 
colour; drowsy in its effect, like slow, wild music; 
letting the eye repose on it, as on a wreath of cloud, 
without one feature of harshness to hurt, or of con- 
trast to awaken. In the second place, the cultivation, 
which, in the simple blue country, has the forced formality 
of growth which evidently is to supply the necessities of 
man, here seems to leap into the spontaneous luxuriance 
of life, which is fitted to minister to his pleasures. The 
surface of the earth exults with animation, especially tend- 



THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 175 

ing to the gratification of the senses; and, without the 
artifioialness which reminds man of the necessity of his 
own labour, without the opposing influences which call 
for his resistance, without the vast energies that remind 
him of his impotence, without the sublimity that can call 
his noblest thoughts into action, yet, with every perfection 
that can tempt him to indolence of enjoyment, and with 
such abundant bestowal of natural gifts, as might seem to 
prevent that indolence from being its own punishment, 
the earth appears to have become a garden of delight, 
wherein the sweep of the bright hills, without chasm or 
crag, the flow of the bending rivers, without rock or rapid, 
and the fruitfulness of the fair earth, without care or 
labour on the part of its inhabitants, appeal to the most 
pleasant passions of eye and sense, calling for no effort of 
body, and impressing no fear on the mind. In hill country 
we have a struggle to maintain with the elements ; in 
simple blue, we have not the luxuriance of delight : here, 
and here only, all nature combines to breathe over us a lull- 
ing slumber, through which life degenerates into sensation. 
These considerations are sufficient to explain what we 
mean by the epithet " sensuality." Kow, taking these three 
distinctive attributes, the mysterious, the graceful, and the 
voluptuous, what is the whole character ? Yery nearly 
the Greek : for these attributes, common to all pictu- 
resque blue country, are modified in the degree of their 
presence by every climate. In England, they are all low 
in their tone ; bnt as we go southward, the voluptnousnesi 



176 THE POETKT OF AEOHITECJTUEE. 

becomes deeper in feeling, as the colours of tlie earth and 
the heaven become purer and more passionate, and " the 
purple of ocean deepest of dye ; " the mystery becomes 
mightier, for the greater and more universal energy of the 
beautiful permits its features to come nearer, and to rise 
into the sublime, without causing fear. It is thus that we 
get the essence of the Greek feeling, as it was embodied in 
their finest imaginations, as it showed itself in the works 
of their sculptors and their poets, in which sensation was 
made almost equal with thought, and defied by its nobility 
of association ; at once voluptuous, refined, dreamily mys- 
terious, infinitely beautiful. Hence, it appears that the 
spirit of this blue country is essentially Greek ; though, 
in England and in other northern localities, that spirit is 
possessed by it in a diminished and degraded degree. It 
it also the natural dominion of the villa, possessing all the 
attributes which attracted the Romans, when, in their 
hours of idleness, they lifted the light arches along the 
echoing promontories of Tiber. It is especially suited to 
the expression of the edifice of pleasure ; and, therefore, 
is most capable of being adorned by it. The attention of 
every one about to raise himself a villa of any kind should, 
therefore, be directed to this kind of country ; first, as 
that in which he will not be felt to be an intruder ; sec- 
ondly, as that which will, in all probability, afford him the 
greatest degree of continuous pleasure, when his eye has 
become accustomed to the f eatures of the locality. To the 
human mind, as on the average constituted, the features 



TEE POETKY OF AECHITECTUBE. 177 

of liili scenery will, by repetition, become tiresome, and 
of wood scenery, monotonous ; while the simple blue can 
possess little interest of any kind. Powerful intellect will 
generally take perpetual delight in hill residence ; but the 
general mind soon feels itself oppressed with a peculiar 
melancholy and weariness, which it is ashamed to own ; 
and we hear our romantic gentleman begin to call out 
about the want of society, while, if the animals were fit to 
live where they have forced themselves, they would never 
want more society than that of a grey stone, or of a clear 
pool of gushing water. On the other hand, there are few 
minds so degraded as not to feel greater pleasure in the 
picturesque blue than in any other country. Its distance 
has generally grandeur enough to meet their moods of 
aspiration ; its near aspect is of a more human interest 
than that of hill country, and harmonises more truly with 
the domestic feelings which are common to all mankind ; 
so that, on the whole, it will be found to maintain its fresh- 
ness of beauty to the habituated eye, in a greater degree 
than any other scenery. 

As it thus persuades us to inhabit it, it becomes a point 
of honour not to make the attractiveness of its beauty its 
destruction ; especially as, being the natural dominion 
of the villa, it affords great opportunity for the architect 
to exhibit variety of design. 

Its spirit has been proved to be Greek ; and therefore, 
though that spirit is slightly manifested in Britain, and 
though every good architect is shy of importation, villas 
8* 



173 THE POETRY OF AKCHITECTUEE. 

on Greek and Eoman models are admissible here. Still, 
as in all bine country there is much activity of life, the 
principle of utility should be kept in view, and the build- 
ing should have as much simplicity as can be united with 
perfect gracefulness of line. It appears from the princi- 
ples of composition alluded to in speaking of the Italian 
villa, that in undulating country the forms should be 
square and massy ; and, where the segments of curves are 
small, the buildings should be low and flat, while they may 
be prevented from appearing cumbrous by some well-man 
aged irrcgiilarity of design, which will be agreeable to the 
inhabitant as well as to the spectator; enabling him to 
change the aspect and size of his chamber, as temperature 
or employment may render such change desirable, without 
being foiled in his design, by finding the apartments of 
one "wing matched foot to foot, by those of the other. For 
the colour, it has been shown that white or pale tints are 
agreeable in all blue country : but there must be warmth 
in it, and a greal deal too, grey being comfortless and use- 
less with a cold distance ; but it must not be raw nor glar- 
ing.* The roof and chimneys should be kept out of sight 

* The epithet " raw," by the by, is vague, and needs definition. Every 
tint is raw which is perfectly opaque, and has not all the three primitive 
colours in its composition. Thus, black is always raw, because it has no 
colour ; white never, because it has all colours. No tint can be raw 
which is not opaque : and opacity may be taken away, either by actual 
depth and transparency, as in the sky ; by lustre and texture, as in the 
case of silk and velvet, or by variety of shade, as in forest verdure. 
Two instances will be sufficient to prove the truth of this. Brick, 
when first fired, is always raw; but, when it has been a little weathered. 



THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 179 

as much as possible ; and, therefore, the one very flat, and 
the other very plain. "We ought to revive the Greek custom 
of roofing with thin slabs of coarse marble, cut into the 
form of tiles. However, where the architect finds he has 
a very cool distance, and few trees about the building, and 
where it stands so high as to preclude the possibility of its 
being looked down upon, he will, if he be courageous, xise 
a very flat roof of the dark Italian tile. The eaves, which 
are all that should be seen, will be peculiarly graceful ; 
and the sharp contrast of colour (for this tiling can only be 
admitted with white walls) may be altogether avoided, by 
letting them cast a strong shadow, and by running the 
walls up into a range of low garret windows, to break the 
horizontal line of the roof. He will thns obtain a bit of 
very strong colour, which will impart a general glow of 
cheerfulness to the building, and which, if he manages it 
rightly, will not be glaring or intrusive. It is to be ob- 
served, however, that he can only do this with villas of the 
most humble order, and that he will seldom find his em- 



it acquires a slight blue tint, assisted by the grey of the mortar ; incipi- 
ent vegetation affords it the yellow. It thus obtains an admixture of 
the three colours, and is raw no longer. An old woman's red cloak, 
though glaring, is never raw ; for it must, of necessity, have folded 
shades ; those shades are of a rich gray : no grey can exist without yel- 
low and blue. We thus have three colours, and no rawness. It must 
be observed, however, that, when any one of the colours is given in so 
slight a degree, that it can be overpowered by certain effects of light, 
the united colour, when opaque, will be raw. Thus, many flesh-coloura 
are raw ; because, though they must have a little blue in their compo- 
sition, it is too little to be efficiently visible in a strong light. 



180 THE POETRY OF AECniTEOTUEE. 

ployer possessed of so much common sense as to put up 
with a tile roof. When this is the case, the flat slabs of 
the upper limestone (ragstone) are usually better than slate. 
For the rest, if is always to be kept in view, that the 
prevailing character of the whole is to be that of graceful 
simplicity ; distinguished from the simplicity of the Italian 
edifice, by being that of utility instead of that of pride.* 
Consequently, the building must not be Gothic or Eliza- 
bethan; it may be as commonplace as the proprietor likes, 
provided its proportions be good ; but nothing can ever 
excuse one acute angle, or one decorated pinnacle, both 
being direct interruptions of the repose with which the 
eye is indulged by the undulations of the surrounding 
scenery. Tower and fortress outlines are, indeed, agree- 
able, from their fine grouping and roundness ; but we do 
not allude to them, because nothing can be more absurd 
than the humor prevailing at the present day among many 
of our peaceable old gentlemen, who never smelt powder 
in their lives, to eat their morning muffin in a savage-look- 
ing round tower, and admit quiet old ladies to a tea-party 
under the range of twenty-six cannon, which, it is lucky 
for the china, are all wooden ones, as they are, in all pro- 
bability, accurately and awfully pointed into the drawing- 
room windows. 

* There must always be a difficulty in. building in picturesque blue 
country in England ; for the English character is opposed to that of the 
country ; it is neither graceful, nor mysterious, nor voluptuous ; there- 
fore, what we cede to the country, we take from the nationality, and 
tie* verad. 



TEE POETBY OF ARCHITECTURE. 181 

So much, then, for our British blue country, to which it 
was necessary to devote some time, as occupying a con- 
siderable portion of the island, and being peculiarly well 
adapted for villa residences. The woody, or green 
country, which is next in order, was spoken of before, and 
was shown to be especially our own. The Elizabethan 
was pointed out as the style peculiarly belonging to it ; 
and farther criticism of that style was deferred until we 
came to the consideration of domestic buildings provided 
with the means of defence. We have, therefore, at 
present only to offer a few remarks on the principles to 
be observed in the erection of Elizabethan villas at the 
present day. 

First. The building must be either quite chaste, or 
excessively rich in decoration. Every inch of ornament 
short of a certain quantity will render the whole effect 
poor and ridiculous; while the pure perpendicular lines 
of this architecture will always look well if left entirely 
alone. The architect, therefore, when limited as to ex- 
pense, should content himself with making his oriels 
project boldly, channelling their mullions richly, and, in 
general, rendering his vertical lines delicate and beautiful 
in their workmanship ; but, if his estimate be unlimited, 
he should lay on his ornament richly, taking care never 
to confuse the eye. Those parts to which, of necessity, 
observation is especially directed, must be finished so as to 
bear a close scrutiny, that the eye may rest on them with 
satisfaction : but their finish must not be of a character 



182 THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTUIHB. 

which would have attracted the eye by itself, without 
being placed in a conspicuous situation ; for, if it were? 
the united attraction of form and detail would confine 
the contemplation altogether to the parts so distinguished, 
and render it impossible for the mind to receive any 
impression of general effect. Consequently, the parts 
that project, and are to bear a strong light, must be chiseled 
with infinite delicacy; so that the ornament, though it 
would have remained unobserved, had the eye not been 
guided to it, when observed, may be of distinguished beau- 
ty and power ; but those parts which are to be flat, and in 
shade, should be marked with great sharpness and boldness, 
that the impression may be equalised. When, for instance, 
we have to do with oriels, to which attention is immedi- 
ately attracted by their projection, we may run wreaths 
of the finest flowered-work up the mull ions, charge the 
terminations with shields, and quarter them richly ; but 
we must join tlie window to the wall, where its shadow 
falls, by means of more deep and decided decoration. 

Secondly. In the choice and design of his ornaments, 
the architect should endeavor to be grotesque rather 
than graceful (though little bits of soft flower-work here 
and there will relieve the eye) ; but he must not imagine 
he can be grotesque by carving faces with holes for 
eyes and knobs for noses ; on the contrary, wherever he 
mimics grotesque life, there should be wit and humour in 
every feature, foil and frolic in every attitude ; every dis- 
tortion should be anatomical, and every monster a studied 



THE POETRY OF AKCHITECTUJSE. 183 

combination. This is a question, however, relating more 
nearly to Gothic architecture, and, therefore, we shall not 
enter into it at present. 

Thirdly. The gables must, on no account, be jagged 
into a succession of right angles, as if people were to be 
perpetually engaged in trotting up one side and down the 
other. This custom, though sanctioned by authority, has 
very little apology to offer for itself, based on any principle 
of composition. In street effect, indeed, it is occasionally 
useful ; and, where the verticals below are unbroken by 
ornament, may be used even in the detached Elizabethan, 
but not when decoration has been permitted below. They 
should then be carried up in curved lines, alternating 
with two angles, or three at the most, without pinnacles 
or hip-knobs. A hollow parapet is far better than a 
battlement, in the intermediate spaces ; the latter, indeed, 
is never allowable, except when the building has some 
appearance of being intended for defence, and, therefore, 
is generally barbarous in the villa, while the parapet 
admits of great variety of effect. 

Lastly. Though the grotesque of Elizabethan archi- 
tecture is adapted for wood country, the grotesque of the 
clipped garden, which frequently accompanies it, is not. 
The custom of clipping trees into fantastic forms is 
always to be reprehended : first, because it never can 
produce the true grotesque, for the material is not passive, 
and, therefore, a perpetual sense of restraint is induced, 
while the great principle of the grotesque is action ; again, 



184: THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 

because we have a distinct perception of two natures ; 
the one neutralising the other ; for the vegetable organisa- 
tion is too palpable to let the animal form suggest its true 
idea ; again, because the great beauty of all foliage is the 
energy of life and action, of which it loses the appear- 
ance by formal clipping ; and again, because the hands of 
the gardener will never produce anything really spirited 
or graceful. Much, however, need not be said on this 
subject ; for the taste of the public does not now prompt 
them to such fettering of fair freedom, and we should be 
as sorry to see the characteristic vestiges of it, which still 
remain in a few gardens, lost altogether, as to see the 
thing again becoming common. 

The garden of the Elizabethan villa, then, should be 
laid out with a few simple terraces near the house, so as 
to unite it well with the ground ; lines of balustrade 
along the edges, gnided away into the foliage of the 
taller trees of the garden, with the shadows falling at 
intervals. The balusters should be square rather than 
round, with the angles outwards 5 and, if the balustrade 
looks unfinished at the corners, it may be surmounted by 
a grotesque bit of sculpture, of any kind ; but it must be 
very strong and deep in its carved lines, and must not be 
large ; and all graceful statues are to be avoided, for the 
reasons mentioned in speaking of the Italian villa: neither 
is the terraced pail of the garden to extend to any dis- 
tance from the house, nor to have deep flights of steps, 
for they are sure to get mossy and slippery, if not super- 



THE POETKT OF AUCHITECTUEE. 1S5 

intended with troublesome care; and the rest of the 
garden should have more trees than flowers in it. A 
flower-garden is an ugly thing, even when best managed : 
it is an assembly of unfortunate beings, pampered and 
bloated above their natural size, stewed and heated into 
diseased growth; corrupted by evil communication into 
speckled and inharmonious colours; torn from the soil 
which they loved, and of which they were the spirit and 
the glory, to glare away their term of tormented life 
among the mixed and incongruous essences of each other, 
in earth that they know not, and in air that is poison to 
them. 

The florist may delight in this: the true lover of flowers 
never will. He who has taken lessons from nature, who 
has observed the real purpose and operation of flowers ; 
how they flush forth from the brightness of the earth's 
being, as the melody rises up from among the moved 
strings of the instrument ; how the wildness of their pale 
colours passes over her, like the evidence of a various 
emotion ; how the quick fire of their life and their 
delight glows along the green banks, where the dew- 
falls the thickest, and the low mists of incense pass 
slowly through the twilight of the leaves, and the inter- 
twined roots make the earth tremble with strange joy at 
the feeling of their motion ; he who has watched this will 
never take away the beauty of their being to mix into 
meretricious glare, or to feed into an existence of disease. 
And the flower-garden is as ngly in effect as it is ran- 



186 THE POETJRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 

natural in feeling : it never will harmonise witli anything^ 
and, if people will have it, should be kept out of sight 
until they get into it.. But, in laying out the garden 
which is to assist the effect of the building, we must 
observe, and exclusively use, the natural combination of 
flowers.* Mow, as far as we are aware, bluish purple is 
the only flower colour which nature ever uses in masses of 
distant effect ; this, however, she does in the case of most 
heathers, with the Rhododendron ferrugineum, and, less 
extensively, with the colder colour of the wood hyacinth. 

* Every one who is about to lay out a limited extent of garden, in 
which he wishes to introduce many flowers, should read and attentively 
study, first Shelley, and next Shakspeare. The latter, indeed, induces 
the most beautiful connexions between thought and flower that can be 
found in the whole range of European literature ; but he very often 
uses the symbolical effect of the flower, which it can only have on the 
educated mind, instead of the natural and true effect of the flower, 
which it must have, more or less, upon every mind. Thus, when 
Ophelia, presenting her wild flowers, says : "There's rosemary, that's 
for remembrance ; pray you love, remember : and there is pansies, 
that's for thoughts : " the infinite beauty of the passage depends upon 
the arbitrary meaning attached to the flowers. But, when Shelley 
speaks of 

" The lily of the vale, 

Whom youth makes so fair, and passion so pale, 
That the light of her tremulous bells is seen 
Through their pavilion of tender green," 

he is etherealising an impression which the mind naturally receives 
from the flower. Consequently, as it is only by their natural influence 
that flowers can address the mind through the eye, we must read 
Shelley, to learn how to use flowers, and Shakspeare, to learn to love 
them. In both writers we find the wild flower possessing soul as weU 
as life, and mingling its induence most intimately, like an untaught 
taelody, with the deepest and most secret streams of human emotion. 



THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 187 

Accordingly, the large rhododendron may be used to 
almost any extent, in masses; the pale varieties of the 
rose more sparingly ; and, on the turf, the wild violet and 
pansy should be sown by chance, so that they may grow 
in undulations of colour, and should be relieved by a few 
primroses. All dahlias, tulips, ranunculi, and, in general, 
what are called florist's flowers, should be avoided like 
garlic. 

Perhaps we should apologise for introducing this in the 
Architectural Magazine; but it is not out of place: the 
garden is almost a necessary adjunct of the Elizabethan 
villa, and all garden architecture is utterly useless unless 
it be assisted by the botanical effect. 

These, then, are a few of the more important principles 
of arcliitecture, which are to be kept in view in the blue 
and in the green country. The wild, or grey, country is 
never selected, in Britain, as the site of a villa ; and, 
therefore, it only remains for us to offer a few remarks on 
a subject as difficult as it is interesting and important, tlie 
architecture of the villa in British hill, or brown, country. 



V. TJie British Villa. Hilly or JBrown, Country. 

Principles of Composition.. 
" Viyite content! casulis et collibns istis." Juvenal. 
IN the Boulevard des Italiens, just at the turning into 
file Hue la Paix (in Paris), there stand a few dusky and 



1 88 THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 

withered trees, beside a kind of dry ditch, paved at the 
bottom, into which a carriage can with some difficulty 
descend, and which affords access (not in an unusual man- 
ner) to the ground floor of a large and dreary-looking 
house, whose passages are dark and confined, whose rooms 
are limited in size, and whose windows command an in- 
teresting view of the dusty trees before mentioned. This 
is the town residence of one of the Italian noblemen, 
whose country house has already been figured as a beauti- 
ful example of the villas of the Lago di Como. That 
villa, however, though in one of the loveliest situations 
that hill, and wave, and heaven ever combined to adorn, 
and though itself one of the most delicious habitations 
that luxury ever projected, or wealth procured, is very 
rarely honoured by the presence of its master ; while at- 
tractions of a very different nature retain him, winter 
after winter, in the dark chambers of the Boulevard des 
Italiens. This appears singular to the casual traveller, 
who darts down from the dust and heat of the French 
capital to the light and glory of the Italian lakes, and 
finds the tall marble chambers and orange groves, in which 
he thinks, were he possessed of them, he could luxuriate 
for ever, left desolate and neglected by their real owner : 
but, were he to try such a residence for a single twelve- 
month, we believe his wonder would have greatly dimin- 
ished at the end of the time. For the mind of the noble- 
man in question does not differ from that of the average 
of men ; inasmuch as it is a well-knc wn fact, that a series 



THE POSTS Y OF AECIIITECTCEE. 189 

of sublime impressions, continued indefinitely, gradually 
pall upon the imagination, deaden its fineness of feeling, 
and, in the end. Induce a gloomy and morbid state of 
niind, a reaction of a peculiarly melancholy character, 
because consequent, not upon the absence of that which 
once caused excitement, but upon the failure of its power. 
This is not the case with all men ; but with those over 
whom the sublimity of an unchanging scene can retain its 
power for ever, we have nothing to do ; for they know 
better than any architect can, how to choose their scene, 
and how to add to its effect : we have only to impress 
upon them the propriety of thinking before they build, and 
of keeping their humours under the control of their judg- 
ment. It is not of them, but of the man of average in- 
tellect, that we are thinking throughout all these papers ; 
and upon him it cannot be too strongly impressed that 
there are very few points in a hill country at all adapted 
for a permanent residence. There is a kind of instinct, 
indeed, by which men become aware of this, and shrink 
from the sterner features of hill scenery into the parts 
possessing a human interest ; and thus we find the north 
side of the Lake Leman, from Vevay to Geneva, which is 
about as monotonous a bit of vine country as any in Eu- 
rope, studded with villas ; while the south side, which is 
as exquisite a piece of scenery as is to be found in all 
Switzerland, possesses, we think, two. The instinct, in this 
case is true ; but we frequently find it in error. Tims, 
the Lake of Coino is the resort of half Italy, while the 



190 THE POETKY OF AKCIHTECTURE. 

Lago Maggiore possesses scarcely one villa of importance, 
besides those on the Borroinean Islands. Yet the Lago 
Maggiore is far better adapted for producing and sustain- 
ing a pleasurable impression, than that of Como. The 
first thing, then, which the architect has to do in hill 
country is, to bring his employer down from heroics to 
common sense; to teach him that, although it might be 
very well for a man like Pliny, whose whole spirit and 
life was wrapt up in that of nature, to set himself down 
under the splash of a cascade 400 ft. high, such escapades 
are not becoming in English gentlemen ; and that it is 
necessary, for his own satisfaction, as well as that of 
others, that he should keep in the most quiet and least 
pretending corners of the landscape which he has chosen. 
Having got his employer well under control, he has two 
points to consider. First, where he will spoil least ; and, 
secondly, where he will gain most. Now, we may spoil a 
landscape it two ways ; either by destroying an associar 
tion connected with it, or a beauty inherent in it. With 
the first barbarism we have nothing to do; for it is one 
which would not be permitted on a large scale ; and, even 
if it were, could not be perpetrated by any man of the 
slightest education. ISfo one, having any pretensions to 
be called a human being, would build himself a house on 
the meadow of the Rutlin, or by the farm of La Haye Sainte. 
or on the lonely isle on Loch Eatrine. Of the injustice 
of the second barbarism we have spoken already ; and it is 
the object of this paper to show how it may be avoided, as 



TUB POETEY OF ARCHITECTURE. 191 

as to develops the principles by which we may be 
guided in the second question ; that of ascertaining how 
much permanent pleasure will be received from the con- 
templation of a given scene. 

It is very fortunate that the result of these several in- 
vestigations will generally be found the same. The res- 
idence which, in the end, is found altogether delightful, 
will be found to have been placed where it has committed 
no injury; and, therefore, the best way of consulting our 
own convenience in the end is, to consult the feelings of 
the spectator in the beginning.* Now, the first grand 
rule for the choice of situation is, never to build a villa 
where the ground is not richly productive. It is not 
enough that it should be capable of producing a crop of 
scanty oats or turnips in a fine season ; it must be rich 
and luxuriant, and glowing with vegetative power f of one 

* For instance, one proprietor terrifies the landscape all round him, 
within a range of three miles, by the conspicuous position of his habita- 
tion ; and is punished by finding that, from whatever quatter the wind 
may blow, it sends in some of his plate-glass. Another spoils a pretty 
bit of crag, by building below it, and has two or three tons of stone 
dropped through his roof, the first frosty night. Another occupies the 
turfy slope of some soft lake promontory, and has his cook washed away 
by the first flood. We do not remember ever having seen a dwelling- 
house destroying the effect of a landscape, of which, considered merely 
as a habitation, we should wish to be the possessor. 

f "We are not thinking of the effect upon the human frame of the air 
which is favourable to vegetation. Chemically considered, the bracing 
breeze of the more sterile soil is the most conducive to health, 
and is practically so, when the frame is not perpetually exposed to it ; 
but the keenness which checks the growth of the plant is, in all proba- 
bility, trying, to say the least, to the constitution of a resident. 



192 TI3E POBTET OF ARCHITECTURE. 

kind or another. For the very chiefest * part of the 
character of the edifice of pleasure is, and must be. Its 
perfect ease, its appearance of felicitous repose. This it 
can never have where the nature and expression of the 
land near it reminds us of the necessity of labour, and 
where the earth is niggardly of all that constitutes its 
beauty and our pleasure ; this it can only have, where the 
presence of man seems the natural consequence of an am- 
ple provision fur his enjoyment, not the continuous strug- 
gle of suffering existence with a rude heaven and rugged 
soil. There is nobility in such a straggle, but not when 
it is maintained by the inhabitant of the villa, in whom it is 
unnatural, and therefore injurious in its effect. The nar- 
row cottage on the desolate moor, or the stalwart hospice 
on the crest of the Alps, each leaves an ennobling impres- 
sion of energy and endurance ; but the possessor of the 
villa, should call, not upon our admiration, but upon our 
sympathy ; and his function is to deepen the impression of 
the 1 eauty and the fulness of creation, not to exhibit the 
majesty of man; to show, in the intercourse of earth and 
her children, not how her severity may be mocked by their 
heroism, but ho.v her bounty may be honoured in their 
enjoyment. 

This position, being once granted, will save us a great 
deal of trouble ; for it will put out of our way, as totally 
unfit for villa residence, nine-tenths of all mountain 

*We hope the English language may long retain this corrupt bat 
energetic superlative. 



THE POETRY OF ARCniTECTLTEE. 193 

scenery ; beginning with such bleak and stony bits of hill- 
side as that which was metamorphosed into something like 
a forest by the author of "Waverley ; laying an equal veto 
on all the severe landscapes of such districts of minor 
mountain as the Scotch Highlands and Kbrth "Wales; 
and finishing by setting aside all the higher sublimity of 
Alp and Apennine. "What, then, has it left us? The gentle 
slope of the lake shore, and the spreading parts of the 
quiet valley, in almost all scenery ; and the shores of the 
Cumberland lakes in our own, distinguished as they are by 
a richness of soil, which though generally manifested only 
in an exquisite softness of pasture, and roundness of undu- 
lation, is sufficiently evident to place them out of the 
sweeping range of this veto. 

Now, as we only have to do with Britain, at present, we 
shall direct particular attention to the Cumberland lakes, 
as they are the only mountain district which, taken gener- 
ally, is adapted for the villa residence, and as every piece 
of scenery which in other districts is so adapted, resembles 
them in character and tone. 

We noticed, in speaking of the Westmoreland cottage, 
the feeling of humility with which we are impressed dur- 
ing a mountain ramble. Tow, it is nearly impossible for 
a villa of large size, however placed, not to disturb and in- 
terrupt this necessary and beautiful impression, particularly 
where the scenery is on a very small scale. This disad- 
vantage may be obviated in some degree, as we shall 

see, by simplicity of architecture ; but another, dependent, 
9 



194 THE POETRY CF ARCHITECTURE. 

on a question of proportion, is inevitable.. When an 
object, in which magnitude is a desirable attribute, leaves 
an impression, on a practised eye, of less magnitude than 
it really possesses, we should pla'ce objects beside it, of 
whose magnitude we can satisfy ourselves, of larger size 
than that which we are accustomed to ; for, by finding 
these large objects in precisely the proportion to the grand 
object, to which we are accustomed, while we know then- 
actual size to be one to which we are not accustomed, we 
become aware of the true magnitude of the principal 
feature. But, where the object leaves a true impression 
of its size on the practised eye, we shall do harm by ren- 
'dering minor objects either larger or smaller than they 
usually are. Where the object leaves an impression of 
greater magnitude than it really possesses, we must render 
the minor objects smaller than they usually are, to prevent 
our being undeceived. ISTow, a mountain of 15,000 ft 
high always looks lower, than it really is ; therefore, the 
larger the buildings near it are rendered, the better. 
Thus, in speaking of the Swiss cottage, it was observed 
that a building of the size of St. Peter's in its place, 
would exhibit the size of the mountains more truly and 
strikingly. A mountain 7,000 ft. high strikes its impres- 
sion with great truth, we are deceived on neither side; 
therefore, the building near it should be of the average 
size; and thus the villas of the Lago di Como, being 
among hills from 6,000 to 8,000 ft. high, are well propor- 
tioned, being neither colossal nor diminutive: but a 



THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 195 

HiDuntain 3,000 ft. high always looks higher than it really 
is*; therefore, the buildings near it should be smaller 
than the average. And this is what is meant by the pro- 
portion of objects ; namely, rendering them of such rela- 
tive size as shall produce the greatest possible impression 
of those attributes which are most desirable in both. It 
is not the true, but the desirable impression which is to be 
conveyed ; and it must not be in one, but in both : the 



* This position as well as the two preceding-, is important, and in 
need of confirmation. It has often been observed, that, when the eye is 
altogether unpractised in estimating elevation, it believes every point to 
be lower than it really is ; but this does not militate against the propo- 
sition, for it is also well known, that the higher the point, the greater 
the deception. But when the eye is thoroughly practised in mountain 
measurement, although the judgment, arguing from technical know- 
ledge, gives a true result, the impression on the feelings is always at 
variance with it, except in hills of the middle height. We are perpetu- 
ally astonished, in our own country, by the sublime impression left by 
such hills as Skiddaw, or Cader Idris, or Ben Venue ; perpetually vexed, 
in Switzerland, by finding that, setting aside circumstances of form and 
color, the abstract impression of elevation is (except in some moments 
of peculiar effect worth a king's ransom) inferior to the truth. We were 
standing the other day on the slope of the Brevent, above the Prieure 
of Chamouni, with a companion, well practised in climbing Highland 
hills, but a stranger among the Alps. Pointing out a rock above the 
Glacier des Bossons, we requested an opinion of its height. " I should 
think," was the reply, " I could climb it in two steps ; but I am too weU 
used to hills to be taken in that way ; it is at least 40 ft." The real 
height was 470 ft. This deception is attributable to several causes (in- 
dependently of the clearness of the medium through which the object is 
seen), which it would be out of place to discuss here, but the chief of 
which is the natural tendency of the feelings always to believe objects 
subtending the same angle to be of the same height. We say the 
feelings, not the eye ; for the practised eye never betrays its possessor, 
though the due and corresponding mental impression is not received. 



196 THE POETJJY OF AECUITECTUKE. 

building must not be overwhelmed, by the mass of the 
mountain, nor the precipice mocked by the elevation of 
the cottage. (Proportion of color is a question of quite a 
different nature, dependent merely on admixture and 
combination.) Por these reasons, buildings of a very 
large size are decidedly destructive of effect among the 
English lakes : first, because apparent altitudes are much 
diminished by them; and, secondly, because, whatever 
position they may be placed in, instead of combining with 
scenery, they occupy and overwhelm it : for all scenery is 
divided into pieces, each of which has a near bit of 
beauty, a promontory of lichened crag, or a smooth swarded 
knoll, or something of the kind to begin with. Where- 
ever the large villa conies, it takes up one of these begin- 
nings of landscape altogether ; and the parts of crag or 
wood, which ought to combine with it, become subservient 
to it, and lost in its general effect ; that is, ordinarily, in a 
general effect of ugliness. This should never be the case : 
however intrinsically beautiful the edifice may be, it 
should assist, but not supersede ; join, but not eclipse ; ap- 
peai-, but not intrude. The general rule by which we are 
to determine the size is, to select the largest mass which 
will not overwhelm any object of fine form, within two 
hundred yards of it ; and, if it does not do this, we may 
be quite sure it is not too large for the distant features : 
for it is one of Nature's most beautiful adaptations, that 
she is never out of proportion with herself ; that is, the 
minor details of scenery of the first class bear exactly the 



THE POETEY OF ARCHITECTURE. 197 

proportion to the same species of detail in scenery of tlie 
second class, that the large features of the first bear to 
the large features of the second. Every mineralogist 
knows that the quartz of the St. Gothard is as much 
larger in its crystal than the quartz of Snowdon, as the 
peak of the one mountain overtops the peak of the other ; 
and that the crystals of the Andes are larger than either.* 
Every artist knows that the boulders of an Alpine fore- 
ground, and the leaps of an Alpine stream, are as much 
larger than the boulders, and as much bolder than the 
leaps, of a Cumberland foreground and torrent, as the 
Jungfrau is higher than Skiddaw. Therefore, if we take 
care of the near effect in any country, we need never be 
afraid of the distant. For these reasons, the cottage villa, 
rather than the mansion, is to be preferred among our 
hills : it has been preferred in many instances, and in too 
many, with an unfortunate result ; for the cottage villa is 
precisely that which affords the greatest scope for practical 
absurdity. Symmetry, proportion, and some degree of 
simplicity are usually kept in view in the large building ; 
but, in the smaller, the architect considers himself licensed 
to try all sorts of experiments, and jumbles together 
pieces of imitation, taken at random from his note-book, 



* This is rather a bold assertion ; and we should be sorry to maintain 
the fact as universal ; but the crystals of almost all the rarer minerals 
axe larger in the larger mountain ; and that altogether independently of 
the period of elevation, which, in the case of Mont Blano, is later than 
that of our own Mendips. 



198 THE POETEY OP ARCHITECTURE. 

as carelessly as a Lad chemist mixing elements, from 
which he may by accident obtain something new, though 
the chances are ten to one that he obtains something use- 
less. The chemist, however, is more innocent than the 
architect ; for the one throws his trash out of the window 
if the compound "fail; while the other always thinks his 
conceit too good to be lost. The great one cause of all 
the errors in this branch of architecture is, the principle 
of imitation, at once the most baneful and the most unin- 
tellectual, yet perhaps the most natural, that the human 
mind can encourage or act upon.* Let it once be thor- 

* In p. 158, we noticed the kind of error most common in amateur 
designs, and we traced that error to its great first cause, the assumption 
of the humor, instead of the true character, for a guide ; but we did 
not sufficiently specify the mode in which that first cause operated, by 
prompting to imitation. By imitation, we do not mean accurate copy- 
ing, neither do we mean working- under the influence of the feelings by 
which we may suppose the originators of a given model to have been 
actuated ; but we mean the intermediate step of endeavoring to com- 
bine old materials in a novel manner. True copying may be disdained 
by architects, but it should not be disdained by nations ; for, when the 
feelings of the time in which certain styles had their origin have passed 
away, any examples of the same style will invariably be failures, unless 
they be copies. It is utter absurdity to talk of building Greek edifices 
now ; no man ever will, or ever can, who does not believe in the Greek 
mythology ; and, precisely by so much as he diverges from the techni- 
cality of strict copyism, he will err. But we ought to have pieces 
of Greek architecture, as we have reprints of the most valuable records, 
and it is better to build a new Parthenon than to set up the old one. 
Let the dust and the desolation of the Acropolis be undisturbed for 
ever ; let them be left to be the school of our moral feelings, not of our 
mechanical perceptions : the line and rule of the prying carpenter 
should not come into the quiet and holy places of the earth. Else* 
where, we may build marble models for the education of the national 



THE POETET OF AECHITECTTHKE. 199 

oughly rooted out, and the cottage villa will become 
a beautiful and interesting element of our landscape. 

So much for size. The question of position need not 
detain us long, as the principles advanced at page 88, 
are true generally, with one exception. Beautiful and 
calm the situation must always be, but, in England, not 
conspicuous. In Italy, the dwelling of the descendants of 
those whose former life has bestowed on every scene the 
greater part of the majesty which it possesses, ought to 
have a dignity inherent in it, which, would be shamed by 
shrinking back from the sight of men, and majesty enough 
to prevent such non-retirement from becoming intrusive ; 
but the spirit of the English landscape is simple, and 
pastoral and mild, devoid, also, of high associations (for, 
in the Highlands and Wales, almost every spot which has 

mind and eye ; but it is useless to think of adopting- the architecture of 
the Greek to the purposes of the Frank : it never has been done, and 
never will be. We delight, indeed, in observing 1 the rise of such a build- 
ing as La Madeleine : beautiful, because accurately copied ; useful, as 
teaching the eye of every passer-by. But we must not think of its pur- 
pose : it is wholly unadapted for Christian worship ; and, were it as bad 
Greek as our National Gallery, it would be equally unfit. The mistake 
of our architects in general is, that they fancy they are speaking good 
English by speaking bad Greek. We wish, therefore, that copying were 
more in vogue than it is. But imitation, the endeavor to be Gothic, or 
Tyrolese 7 or Venetian, without the slightest grain of Gothic or Venetian 
feeling ; the futile effort to splash a building into age, or daub it into 
dignity, to zigzag it into sanctity, or slit it into ferocity, when its shell 
is neither ancient nor dignified, and its spirit neither priestly ncr baro- 
nial ; this is the degrading vice of the age ; fostered, as if man's reason 
were but a step between the brains of a kitten and a monkey, in the 
mixed love of despicable excitement and miserable mimicry. If thf 



200 THE POETET OF AECH1TECTUEE. 

the pride of memory is unfit for villa residence) ; and, 
therefore, all conspicuous appearance of its more wealthy 
inhabitants becomes ostentation, not dignity ; impudence, 
not condescension. Their dwellings ought to be just evi 
dent, and no more, as forming part of the gentle anhna 
tion, and present prosperity, which is the beauty of Culti 
rated ground. And this partial concealment may be 
effected without any sacrifice of the prospect which the 
proprietor will insist upon commanding from his windows, 
and with great accession to his permanent enjoyment. 
For, first, the only prospect which is really desirable or 
delightful, is that from the window of the breakfast-room. 
This is rather a bold position, but it will appear evident 



English have no imagination, they should not scorn to he 'commonplace , 
or, rather, they should remember that poverty cannot be disguised by 
beggarly borrowing, though it may be ennobled by calm independence. 
Our national architecture never will improve until our population are 
generaUy convinced that in this art, as in all others, they cannot seem 
what they cannot be. The scarlet coat or the turned-down collar, 
which the obsequious portrait-painter puts on the shoulders and off the 
necks of his savage or insane customers, never can make the 'prentice look 
military, or the idiot poetical ; and the architectural appurtenances of 
Korxnan embrasure or Veronaic balcony must be equally ineffective, until 
they can turn shopkeepers into barons, and schoolgirls into Juliets. 
Let the national mind be elevated in its character, and it will naturally 
become pure in its conceptions ; let it be simple in its desires, and it 
will be beautiful in its ideas ; let it be modest in feeling, and it will not 
be insolent in stone. For architect and for employer, there can be but 
one rule ; to be natural in all that they do, and to look for the beauty 
of the material creation as they would for that of the human form, not 
in the chanceful and changing disposition of artificial decoration, but ir 
the manifestation of the pure and animating spirit which keeps it from 
the coldness of the grave. 



THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 201 

on a little consideration. It is pleasant enough to have a 
pretty little bit visible from the bed-rooms ; but, after all, 
it only makes gentlemen cut themselves in shaving, and 
ladies never think of anything beneath the sun when they 
are dressing. Then, in the dining-room windows are ab- 
solutely useless, because dinner is always uncomfortable 
by daylight, and the weight of furniture effect which 
adapts the room for the gastronomic rites, renders it de- 
testable as a sitting-room. In the library, people should 
have something else to do, than looking out of the win 
dows; in the drawing-room, the uncomfortable stillness- 
of the quarter of an hour before dinner may, indeed, be 
alleviated by having something to converse about at the 
windows : but it is very shameful to spoil a prospect of 
any kind, by looking at it when we are not ourselves in a 
state of corporal comfort and mental good humour, which 
nobody can be after the labour of the day, and before he 
has been fed. But the breakfast-room, where we meet 
the first light of the dewy day, the first breath of the 
morning air, the first glance of gentle eyes; to which we 
descend in the very spring and elasticity of mental renova- 
tion and bodily energy, in the gathering up of our spirit 
for the new day, in the flush of our awakening from the 
darkness and the mystery of faint and inactive dreaming, 
in the resurrection from our daily grave, in the first tre- 
mulous sensation of the beauty of our being, in the rqpst 
glorious perception of the lightning of our life ; there, in- 
deed, our expatiation of spirit, when it meets the pulse of 
9* 



202 THE POETET Off ARCHITECTURE. 

outward sound and joy, the voice of bird and breeze and 
billow, does demand some power of liberty, some space 
for its going forth into the morning, some freedom of in- 
tercourse with the lovely and limitless energy of creature 
and creation. The breakfast-room must have a prospect, 
and an extensive one ; the hot roll and hyson are indis- 
cussable, except under such sweet circumstances. But he 
must be an awkward architect, who cannot afford an open- 
ing to one window without throwing the whole mass of 
the building open to public view ; particularly as, in the 
second place, the essence of a good window view, is the 
breaking out of the distant features in little well-com- 
posed morceaux, not the general glare of a mass of one 
tone. Have we a line of lake? the silver water must 
glance out here and there among the trunks of near trees, 
just enough to show where it flows ; then break into an 
open swell of water, just where it is widest, or where the 
shore is prettiest. Have we mountains ? their peaks must 
appear over foliage, or through it, the highest and boldest 
catching the eye conspicuously, yet not seen from base tc 
summit, as if we wanted to measure them. Such a pro- 
spect as this is always compatible with as much conceal- 
ment as we choose. In all these pieces of management, 
the architect's chief enemy is the vanity of his employer, 
who will always want to see more than he ought to see, 
and than he will have pleasure in seeing, without reflect- 
ing how the spectators pay for his peeping. 

So much, then, for position. "\Ve have now only to 



THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 203 

settle the questions of form and colour, and we shall then 
have closed the most tiresome investigation, which we 
shall be called upon to enter into ; inasmuch as the prin- 
ciples which we may arrive at in considering the architec- 
ture of defence, though we hope they may be useful in 
the abstract, will demand no application to native land- 
scape, in which, happily, no defence is now required ; and 
those relating to sacred edifices will, we also hope, be 
susceptible of more interest than can possibly be excited 
by the most degraded branch of the whole art of archi- 
tecture, one hardly worthy of being included under the 
name ; that, namely, with which we have lately been oc- 
cupied, whose ostensible object is the mere provision of 
shelter and comfort for the despicable shell within whose 
darkness and corruption that purity of perception to 
which all high art is addressed is, during its immaturity, 
confined. 

There are two modes in which any mental or material 
effect may be increased ; by contrast, or by assimilation. 
Supposing that we have a certain number of features, or 
existences, under a given influence; then, by subjecting 
another feature to the same influence, we increase the 
universality, and therefore the effect, of that influence ; 
but, by introducing another feature, not under the same 
influence, we render the subjection of the other features 
more palpable, and therefore more effective. For exam- 
ple, let the influence be one of shade (Fig. 41), to which a 
certain number of objects are subjected in a and 5. Tc 



204: 



THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 




a we add another feature, subjected to the same influence, 
and we increase the general impression of shade ; to 5 \?e 
Fig. 41. add the same feature, not subjected to 

this influence, and we have deepened 
the effect of shade. Now, the princi- 
ples by which we are to be guided in 
the selection of one or other of these 
means are of great importance, and 
must be developed before we can con- 
clude the investigation of "villa archi- 
tecture. The impression produced bj 
a given effect or influence depends* 
upon its degree and its duration. De- 
gree alwarjrtf means the proportionate energy exerted 
Duration is either into time, or into space, or into both 
The duration of colour is in space alone, forming what 
is commonly called extent. The duration of sound is 
in space and time; the space being in the size of the 
waves of air, which give depth to the tone. The duration 
of mental emotion is in time alone. Now, in all influ- 
ences, as is the degree, so is the impression; as is the 
duration, so is the effect of the impression ; that is, its per- 
manent operation upon the feelings, or the violence with 
which it takes possession of our own faculties and senses, 
as opposed to the abstract impression of its existence with- 
out such operation on our own essence. For example, the 
natural tendency of darkness or shade is, to induce fear or 
melancholy. Now, as the degree of the shade, so is the 



THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 205 

abstract impression of the existence of shade ; but, as the 
duration of shade, so is the fear of melancholy excited by 
-it. Consequently, when we wish to increase the abstract 
impression of the power of any influence over objects with 
which we have no connexion, we must increase degree ; 
bnt, when we wish the impression to produce a permanent 
effect upon ourselves, we must increase duration. Now, 
degree is always increased by contrast, and duration by 
assimilation. A few instances of this will be sufficient. 
Blue is called a cold colour, because it induces a feeling 
of coolness to the eye, and is much used by nature in her 
cold effects. Supposing that we have painted a storm 
scene, in desolate country, with a single miserable cottage 
somewhere in front ; that we have made the atmosphere 
and the distance cold and blue, and wish to heighten the 
comfortless impression. There is an old rag hanging out 
of the window : shall it be red or blue ? If it be red, the 
piece of warm colour will contrast strongly with the atmo- 
sphere ; will render its blueness and chilliness immensely 
more apparent; will inciease the degree of both, and, 
therefore, the abstract impression of the existence of cold. 
Bnt, if it be blue, it will bring the iciness of the distance 
up into the foreground ; will fill the whole visible space 
with comfortless cold ; will take away every relief from 
the desolation ; will increase the duration of the influence, 
and, consequently, will extend its operation into the mind 
and feelings of the spectator, who will shiver as he looks. 
Now, if we are painting ^jpiotwe, we shall not hesitate a 



206 THE POETEY OF AECITITEOTTJKE. 

moment : in goes the red ; for the artist, while he wishes 
to render the actual impression of the presence of cold in 
the landscape as strong as possible, does not wish that 
chilliness to pass over into, or affect, the spectator, but en-' 
deavours to make the combination of colour as delightful 
to his eye and feelings as possible.* But, if we are paint- 
ing a scene for theatrical representation, where deception 
is aimed at, we shall be as decided in our proceeding on 
the opposite principle : in goes the blue ; for we wish the 
idea of cold to pass over into the spectator, and make him 
so uncomfortable as to permit, his fancy to place him dis- 
tinctly in the place we desire, in the actual scene. Again, 
Shakspeare has been blamed by some few critical asses for 
the raillery of Mercutio, and the humour of the nurse, in 
Romeo and Juliet ; for the fool in Lear ; for the porter in 
Macbeth ; the grave-diggers in Hamlet, &c. ; because, it 
is said, these bits interrupt the tragic feeling. No such 
thing; they enhance it to an incalculable extent; they 
deepen its degree, though, they diminish its duration. 
And what is the result? that the impression of the agony 
of the individuals brought before us is far stronger than 
it could otherwise have been, and our sympathies are 
more forcibly awakened ; while, had the contrast been 
wanting, the impression of pain would have come over in- 
to ourselves ; our selfish feeling, instead of our sympathy, 
would have been awakened ; the conception of the grief 

* This difference of principle is one leading distinction between the 
artist, properly so called, and the scene, diorama, or panorama painter. 



THE POETKY OF ARCIIITECTI7KE. 207 

of others diminished ; and the tragedy would have made 
us very uncomfortable, but never have melted us to tears, 
or excited us to indignation. "When he, whose merry and 
satirical laugh rung in our ears the moment bef ore, faints 
before us, with " A plague o 3 both your houses, they have 
made worms' meat of me," the acuteness of our feeling is 
excessive : but, had we not heard the laugh before, there 
would have been a dull weight o e f melancholy impression, 
which would have been painful, not affecting. Hence, we 
see the grand importance of the choice of our means of 
enhancing effect ; and we derive the simple rule for that 
choice ; namely, that, when we wish to increase abstract 
impression, or to call upon the sympathy of the spectator, 
we are to use contrast ; but, when we wish to extend the 
operation of the impression, or to awaken the selfish feel- 
ings, we are to use assimilation. 

This rule, however, becomes complicated where the 
feature of contrast is not altogether passive ; that is, where 
we wish to give a conception -of any qualities inherent in 
that feature, as well as in what it relieves ; and, besides, 
it is not always easy to know whether it will be best to 
increase the abstract idea, or its operation. In most cases, 
energy, the degree of influence, is beauty ; and, in many 
the duration of influence is monotony. In others, dura- 
tion is sublimity, and energy painful : in a few, energy 
and duration are attainable and delightful together. It is 
impossible to give rules for judgment in every case ; but 
the following points must always be observed : 1. "When 



208 THE POETEY OF ARCHITECTURE; 

>ve use contrast, it must be natural, and likely to occur 
Thus, tlie contrast in tragedy is the natural consequence 
of the character of human existence : it is what we see 
and feel every day of our lives, "When a contrast is un- 
natural, it destroys the effect it should enhance. Canning 
called on a French refugee 111 1794 The conversation 
naturally turned on the execution of the queen, then a 
recent event. -Overcom^ by his feelings, the Parisian 
threw himself upon the ground, exclaiming, in an agony 
of tears, " La bonne reine 1 la pauvre reine ! " Presently 
he sprang 'up, exclaiming, "Dependant, Monsieur, il faut 
YOUS f aire voir rnon petit chien danser." This contrast, 
though natural in a Parisian, was unnatural in the nature 
of things, and therefore injurious. 

2dly. When the general influence, instead of being 
external, is an attribute or energy of the thing itself, so 
as to bestow on it a permanent character, the contrast 
which is obtained by the absence of that character is in- 
jurious and becomes what is called an interruption of the 
unity. Tims, the raw and colorless tone of the Swiss 
cottage, noticed at page 36, is an injurious contrast to the 
richness of the landscape, which is an inherent and ne- 
cessary energy in surrounding objects. So, the character 
of Italian landscape is curvilinear; therefore, the outline 
of the buildings entering into its composition must be 
arranged on curvilinear principles, as investigated at page 
130. 

3dly. But, if the pervading character can be obtained 



THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 



209 



in the single object by different means, the contrast will 
"be delightful. Thus, the elevation of character whih 
the hill districts of Italy possess by the magnificence of 
their forms, is transmitted to the villa by its dignity of 
detail, and simplicity of outline ; and the rectangular 
interruption to the curve of picturesque blue country, 
partaking of the nature of that which it interrupts, is a 
contrast giving relief and interest, while any Elizabethan 
acute angles, on the contrary, would have been a contrast 
obtained by the absence of the pervading energy of tho 
universal curvilinear character, and therefore improper. 

4thly. When the general energy, instead of pervading 
simultaneously the multitude of objects, as with one 
spirit, is independently possessed and manifested by every 

Fig. 42. 





Fig. 43. 



210 THE IOETET OF ARCHITECTURE. 

individual object, the result is repetition, not unity: and 
contrast is not merely agreeable, but necessary. Thus, 
in Fig. 42, the number of objects, forming the line of 
beauty, is pervaded by one simple energy ; but in Fig. 4-3 
that energy is separately manifested in each, and the 
result is painful monotony. Parallel right lines, without 
grouping, are always liable to this objection; and, there- 
fore, a distant view of a flat country is never beautiful, 
unless its horizontals are lost in richness of vegetation, 
as in Lombardy; or broken with masses of forest, or 
with .distant hills. If none of these interruptions take 
place, there is immediate monotony, and no introduction 
can be more delightful than such a tower in the distance 
as Strasburg, or, indeed, than any architectural combi- 
nation of verticals. Peterborough is a beautiful instance 
of such an adaptation. It is always, then, to be remem- 
bered that repetition is not assimilation. 

Sthly.'When any attribute is necessarily beautiful, 
that is, beautiful in every place and circumstance, we 
need hardly say that the contrast consisting in its absence 
is painful. It is only when beauty is local or accidental 
that opposition may be employed. 

6thly. The edge of all contrasts, so to speak, should 
be as soft as is consistent with decisive effect. We mean, 
that a gradual change is better than instantaneous 
transfiguration; for, though always less effective, it is 
more agreeable. But this must be left very much to the 



THE POBTBY OF ABOHrrEOTUBE. 211 

7thly. We must be very careful in ascertaining 
whether any given contrast is obtained by freedom from 
external, or absence of internal, energy, for it is often 
a difficult point to decide. Thus, the peace of the Alpine 
valley might, at first, seem to be a contrast caused by 
the want of the character of strength and sublimity 
manifested in the hills ; but it is really caused by the 
freedom from the general and external influence of vio- 
lence and desolation. 

These, then, are principles applicable to all arts, with- 
out a single exception, and of particular importance in 
painting and architecture. It will sometimes be found 
that one rule comes in the way of another; in which 
case, the most important is, of course, to be obeyed ; but, 
in general, they will afford us an easy means of arriving 
at certain results, when, before, our conjectures must 
have been vague and unsatisfactory. "We may now 
proceed to determine the most proper form for the 
mountain villa of England. 

We must first observe the prevailing lines of the near 
hills : if they are vertical, there will most assuredly be 
monotony, for the vertical lines of crag are never grouped, 
and accordingly, by our fourth rule, the prevailing lines 
of our edifice must be horizontal. In Fig. 44, which is 
a village half-way up the Lake of Thun, the tendency of 
the hills is vertical; this tendency is repeated by the 
buildings, and the composition becomes thoroughly bad : 
but, at p. 92, Fig. 27, we have the same vertical ten- 



212 



THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 



dency in the Mils, while the grand lines of the buildings 
are horizontal, and the composition is good. But, if the 

Fig. 44. 




prevailing lines of the near hills be curved (and they 
will be either ' curved or vertical), we must not interrupt 
their character, for the energy is then pervading, not in- 
dividual; and, therefore, our edifice must be rectangular. 
In both cases, therefore, the grand outline of the villa is 
the same ; but in the one we have it set off by contrast, 
in the other by assimilation ; and we must work out in 
the architecture of each edifice the principle on which 
we have begun. Commencing with that in which we 
are to work by contrast: the vertical crags must be the 



THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 213 

result of violence, and the influence of destruction, of 
distortion, of torture, to speak strongly, must be evident 
in their every line. We free the building from this in- 
fluence, and give it repose, gracefulness, and ease ; and 
we have a contrast of feeling as well as of line, by which 
the desirable attributes are rendered evident in both 
objects, while the duration of neither energy being 
allowed, there can be no disagreeable effect upon the 
spectator, who will not shrink from the terror of the 
crags, nor feol a want of excitement in the gentleness of 
the building. 

2dly. Solitude is powerful and evident in its effect on. 
the distant hills, therefore, the effect of the villa should be 
joyous and life-like (not flippant, however, but serene) ; 
and, by rendering it so, we shall enhance the sublimity of 
the distance, as we showed in speaking of the Westmore- 
land cottage ; and, therefore, we may introduce a number 
of windows with good effect, provided that they are kept 
in horizontal lines, and do not disturb the repose which we 
have shown to, be necessary. 

These three points of contrast will be quite enough : 
there is no other external influence from which we can 
free the building, and the pervading energy must .be com- 
municated to it, or it will not harmonize with our feelings ; 
therefore, before proceeding, we had better determine how 
this contrast is to be carried out in detail. Our lines are 
to be horizontal ; then the roof must be as flat as possible. 
We need not think of snow, because, however much we 



214 THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 

may slope the roof, it will not slip off from the material 
which, here, is the only proper one ; and the roof of the 
cottage is always very flat, which it would not be if there 
were any inconvenience attending such a form. But, for 
the sake of the second contrast, we are to have graceful- 
ness and ease, as well as horizontality. Then we must 
break the line of the roof into different elevations, yet not 
making the difference great, or we shall have visible verti- 
cals. And this must not be done at random. Take a flat 
line of beauty, 'a d, Fig. 45, for the length of the edifice. 

Fig. 45. 




771 



Strike a 5 horizontally from a, c d from d; let fall the 
verticals ; make of equal m n, the maximum ; and draw 
hf. The curve should be so far continued as that hf 
shall be to c d as c d to a J. Then we are sure of a beau- 
tifully proportioned form. Much variety may be intro- 
duced by using different curves ; joining paraboles with 
cycloids, &c. : but the use of curves is always the best mode 
of obtaining good forms. Further ease may be obtained 
by added combinations. For instance, strike another 
curve (a q 5) through the flat line a I / bisect the maxi- 
mum vjp, draw the horizontal r s, (observing to make the 
largest maximum of this curve towards the smallest maxi* 



THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 215 

mum of the great curve, to restore the balance), join r g. 
s , and we have another modification of the same beautiful 
form. This may be done in either side of the building, 
but not in both. Then, if the flat roof be still found 
monotonous, it may be interrupted by garret windows, 
which must not be gabled, but turned with the curve a #, 
whatever that may be. This will give instant humility to 
the building, and take away any vestiges of Italian charac- 
ter which might hang about it, and which would be wholly 
out of place. The windows may have tolerably broad 
architraves, but no cornices ; an ornament both haughty 
and classical in its effect, and; on both accounts, improper 
here. They should be in level lines, but grouped at 
unequal distances, or they will have a formal and artificial 
air, unsuited to the irregularity and freedom around them. 
Some few of them may be arched, however, Vith the curve 
a 5, the mingling of the curve and the square being very 
graceful. There should not be more than two tiers and 
the garrets, or the building will be too high. 

So much for the general outline of the villa, in which 
we are to work by contrast. Let us pass over to that in 
which we are to work by assimilation, before speaking of 
the material and color which should be common to both. 

The grand outline must be designed on exactly the same 
principles; for the curvilinear proportions, which were 
opposition before, will now be assimilation. Of course, we 
do not mean to say that every villa in a hill country should 
have the form a 5 o d; we should be tired tc death if they 



216 THE POETRY OF AUOHTTEOTirRE. 

had : but we bring forward that form, as an example of 
the agreeable result of the principles on which we should 
always work, but whose result should be the same in no 
two cases. A modification of that form, however, wiL 
frequently be found useful ; for, under the depression hf, 
we may have a hall of entrance and of exercise, which is 
a requisite of extreme importance in hill districts, where 
it rains three hours out of four all the year round ; and 
under c d we may have the kitchen, servants' rooms, and 
coach-house, leaving the large division quiet and comfort- 
able. 

Then, as in the curved country there is no such distor- 
tion as that before noticed, no such evidence of violent 
agency, we need not be so careful about the appearance of 
perfect peace, we may be a little more dignified and a 
little more classical. The windows may be symmetrically 
arranged ; and, if there be a blue and undulating distance, 
the upper tier may even have cornices ; narrower archi- 
traves are to be used ; the garrets may be taken from the 
roof, and their inmates may be accommodated in the other 
side of the house ; but we must take care, in doing this, 
not to become Greek. The material, as we shall see pres- 
ently, will assist us in keeping unclassical; and not a 
vestige of column or capital must appear in any part of 
the edifice. All should be pure, but all should be Eng- 
lish ; and there should be here, as elsewhere, much of the 
utilitarian about the whole, suited to the cultivated coun- 
try in which it is placed. 



THE POETRY OF AECHrrECTUBE. 21 T 

It will never do to be speculative or imaginative in our 
details, on the supposition that the tendency of fine scen- 
ery is to make everybody imaginative and enthusiastic. 
Enthusiasm has no business with Turkey carpets or easy 
chairs ; and the very preparation of comfort for the body, 
which the existence of the villa supposes, is inconsistent 
with the supposition of any excitement of mind : and this 
is another reason for keeping the domestic building in 
richly productive country. Nature has set aside her sub- 
lime bits for us to feel and think in ; she has pointed out 
her productive bits for us to sleep and eat in ; and, if we 
sleep and eat amongst the sublimity, we are brutal ; if we 
poetise amongst the cultivation, we are absurd. There 
are the time and place for each state of existence, and we 
should not jumble that which Nature has separated. She 
has addressed herself, in one part, wholly to the mind, 
there is nothing for us to eat but bilberries, nothing to 
rest upon but rock, and we have no business to concoct 
pic-nics, and bring cheese, and ale, and sandwiches, in 
baskets, to gratify our beastly natures, where Nature 
never intended us to eat (if she had, we needn't have 
brought the baskets). In the other part, she has provided 
for our necessities ; and we are very absurd, if we make 
ourselves fantastic, instead of comfortable. Therefore, 
all that we ought to do in the hill villa is, to adapt it for 
the habitation of a man of the highest faculties of percep- 
tion and feeling ; but only for the habitation of his hours 

of common sense, not of enthusiasm j it must be his dwel- 
10. 



218 THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 

ling as a man, not as a spirit ; as a thing liable to decay^ 
not as an eternal energy; as a perishable, not as an 
immortal. 

Keeping^ then, in view these distinctions of form be- 
tween the two villas, the remaining considerations relate 
equally to both. 

We have several times alluded to the extreme richness 
and variety of hill foregrounds, as an internal energy to 
which there must be no contrast. Eawness of colour is to 
be especially avoided, but so, also, is poverty of effect. It 
will, therefore, add much to the beauty of the building, if, 
in any conspicuous and harsh angle or shadowy moulding, 
we introduce a wreath of carved leaf -work, in stone, of 
course. This sounds startling and expensive ; but we are 
not thinking of expense : what ought to be, not what can 
be afforded, is the question. Besides, when all expense in 
shamming castles, building pinnacles, and all other f antas- 
ticisms, has been shown to be injurious, that which other- 
wise would have been wasted in plaster battlements, to do 
harm, may surely be devoted to stone leafage, to do good. 
Now, if there be too much, or too conspicuous, ornament, 
it will destroy, simplicity and humility, and everything 
which we have been endeavouring to get; therefore, the 
architect must be careful, and had better have immediate 
recourse to that natural beauty with which he is now en- 
deavouring to assimilate. When Nature determines on 
decorating a piece of projecting rock, she begins with the 
bold projecting surface, to which the eye is naturally 



THE POETTJY OF ARCHITECTURE. 219 

drawn by its form, and (observe how closely she works by 
the principles which were before investigated) she finishes 
this with lichens, and mingled colours, to a degree of deli- 
cacy, which makes us feel that we never can look close 
enough ; but she puts in not a single mass of form to at 
tract the eye, more than the grand outline renders neces- 
sary. But, where the rock joins the ground, where the 
shadow falls, and the eye is not attracted, she puts in bold 
forms, of ornament, large leaves and grass, bunches of 
moss and heather, strong in their projection, and deep in 
their colour. Therefore, the architect must act on precise- 
ly the same principle : his outward surfaces he may leave 
the wind and weather to finish in their own way ; but he 
cannot allow Nature to put grass and weeds into the shad- 
ows ; &rgo, he must do it himself ; and, whenever the eye 
loses itself in shade, wherever there is a dark and sharp 
corner, there, if he can, he should introduce a wreath of 
flower-work. The carving will be preserved from the 
weather by this very propriety of situation : it would have 
mouldered away, had it been exposed to the full drift of 
the rain, but will remain safe in the crevices where it is re- 
quired ; and, also, it will not injure the general effect, but 
will lie concealed until we approach, and then rise up, as 
it were, out of the darkness, to its duty ; bestowing on the 
dwellings that finish of effect which is manifested around 
them, and gratifying the natural requirement of the mind 
for the same richness in the execution of the designs of 
men, which it has found on a near approach lavished so 



THE POETRY 01T AEOHITEOTTJKB. 

abundantly, in a distant view subdued so beautifully intc 
the large effects of the designs of nature. 

Of the ornament itself, it is to be observed that it is not 
to be what is properly called architectural decoration 
(that which is "decorous," becoming, or suitable to); 
namely, the combination of minor forms, which repeat 
the lines, and partake of the essence of the grand design, 
and carry out its meaning and life into its every member : 
but it is to be true sculpture ; the presenting of a pure 
ideality of form to the eye, which may give perfect con- 
ception, without the assistance of colour : it is to be the 
stone image of vegetation, not botanically accurate, 
indeed, but sufficiently near to permit us to be sure of the 
intended flower or leaf. Not a single line of any other 
kind of ornament should be admitted, and there should be 
more leafage than flower-work, as it is the more easy in 
its flow and outline. Deep relief need not be attempted, 
but the edges of the leafage should be clearly and deli- 
cately defined. The cabbage, the vine, and the ivy are 
the best and most beautiful leaves : oak is a little too stiff, 
otherwise good. Particular attention ought to be paid to 
the ease of the steins and tendrils : such care will always 
be repaid. And it is to be especially observed, that the 
carving is not to be arranged in garlands or knots, or any 
other f ormalitieSj as in Gothic work ; but the stalks are to 
rise out of the stone, as if they were rooted in it, and to 
fling themselves down where they are wanted, disappear- 
ing again in light sprays, as if they were still growing 



THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 221 

All this will require care in designing ; but, as we have 
said before, we can always do without decoration ; but, if 
we have it, it must be well done. It is not of the slightest 
use to economise ; every farthing improperly saved does a 
shilling's worth of damage ; and that is getting a bargain 
the wrong way. When one branch or group balances 
another, they must be different in composition. The same 
group may be introduced several times in different parts, 
but not when there is correspondence, or the effect will be 
unnatural ; and it can hardly be too often repeated, that 
the ornament must be kept out of the general effect, must 
be invisible to all but the near observer, and, even to him, 
must not become a necessary part of the design, but must 
be sparingly and cautiously applied, so as to appear to 
have been thrown in by chance here and there, as Nature 
would have thrown in a bunch of herbage, affording 
adornment without concealment, and relief without inter- 
ruption. 

So much for form. The question of colour has already 
been discussed at some length, in speaking of the cottage ; 
but it is to be noticed, that the villa, from the nature of its 
situation, gets the higher hills back into a distance which 
is three or four times more blue than any piece of scenery 
entering into combination with the cottage; so that more 
warmth of colour is allowable in the building, as well as 
greater cheerfulness of effect. It should not look like 
stone, as the cottage should, but should tell as a building 
on the mind as well as the eye. White, therefore, is fre- 



THE POETRY OF ARCHITECTURE. 

quently allowable in small quantities, particularly on the 
border of a large and softly shored lake, like Windermere 
and the foot of Loch Lomond; but cream-colour, and 
putty-coloiir, and the other varieties of plaster colour, are 
inexcusable. If more warmth is required by the situation 
than the sun will give on white, the building should be 
darkened at once. A warm, rich grey is always beautiful 
in any place and under every circumstance ; and, in fact, 
unless the proprietor likes to be kept damp like a travelling 
codfish, by trees about his house and close to it (which, if 
it be white, he must have, to prevent glare), such a grey is 
the only colour which will be beautiful, or even innocent. 
The difficulty is to obtain it ; and this naturally leads to 
the question of material. If the colour is to be white, we 
can have no ornament, for the shadows would make it far 
too conspicuous, and we should get only tawdriness. The 
simple forms may be executed in anything that will stand 
wet ; and the roofs, in all cases, should be of the coarse 
slate of the country, as rudely put on as possible. They 
must be kept clear of moss and conspicuous vegetation, or 
there will be an improper appearance of decay; but the 
more lichenous the better, and the rougher the slate the 
sooner it is coloured. If the colour is to be grey, we may 
use the grey primitive limestone, which is not ragged on 
the edges, without preparing the blocks too smoothly ; or 
the more compact and pale-coloured slate, which is fre- 
quently done in Westmoreland ; and execute the orna- 
ments in any very coarse dark marble. Greenstone is an 



THE POETBY OF ARCHITEOTinSE. 223 

excellent rock, and has a fine surface, but it is unmanage- 
able. The greyer granites may often be used with good 
effect, as well as the coarse porphyries, when the grey is 
to be particularly warm. An outward surface of a loose 
block may be often turned to good account in turning an 
angle, as the colours which it has contracted by its natural 
exposure will remain on it without inducing damp. It is 
always to be remembered, that he who prefers neatness to 
beauty, and who would have sharp angles, and clean sur- 
faces, in preference to curved outlines and lichenous 
colour, has no business to live among hills. 

Such, then, are the principal points to be kept in view 
in the edifice itself. Of the mode of uniting it with the 
near features of foliage and ground, it would be utterly 
useless to speak : it is a question of infinite variety, and 
involving the whole theory of composition, so that it 
would take up volumes to develope principles sufficient to 
guide us to the result which the feeling of the practised 
eye would arrive at in a moment. The inequalities of the 
ground, the character and colour of those inequalities, the 
nature of the air, the exposure, and the consequent fall of 
the light, the quantity and form of near and distant 
foliage, all have their effect on the design, and should 
have their influence on the designer, inducing, as they do, 
a perfect change of circumstance in every locality. Only 
one general rule can be given, and that we repeat. The 
house must NOT be a noun substantive, it must not stand 
by itself , it must be part and parcel "of a proportioned 



224 THE POETRY OF AECHITEOTUEB. 

whole : it must not even be seen all at once ; and lie who 
sees one end should feel that, from the given data, he can 
arrive at no conclusion respecting the other, yet be im- 
pressed with a feeling of a universal energy, pervading 
with its beauty of unanimity all life and all inanimation, 
all forms of stillness or motion, all presence of silence or 
of sound. 

Thus, then, we have reviewed the most interesting ex- 
amples of existing villa architecture, and we have ap- 
plied the principles derived from those examples to the 
landscape of our own country. Throughout, we have 
endeavoured to direct attention to the spirit, rather than 
to the letter, of all law, and to exhibit the beauty of that 
principle which is embodied in the line with which we 
have headed this concluding paper; of being satisfied 
with national and natural forms, and not endeavouring to 
introduce the imaginations, or imitate the customs, of 
foreign nations, or of former times. All imitation has its 
origin in vanity, and vanity is the bane of architecture. 
Arid, as we take leave of them, we would, once for all, 
remind our English sons of Sempronius "qui villas 
attollunt marinore novas," novas in the full sense of the 
word, and who are setting all English feeling and all 
natural principles at defiance, that it is only the "bourgeois 
gentilhomme who will wear his dressing-gown upside 
down, " parceque toutes les personnes de qualit^ portent lea 
fleurs en en-bas." 
Oxford, Octob&r, 1838. 



WOBKS OF AKT. 225 

WOKKS OF ART. 

Whether Works of Art may, with Propriety, be com- 
bined with the Sublimity of Nature; and wfiai 
would be the most appropriate Situation for the pro- 
posed Monument to the Memory of Sir Walter 8cott, 
in Edmb^t f rgh ? By KATA PHUSINT. 

THE question which has been brought before the readers 
of the Architectural Magazine by W. is one of peculiar 
and excessive interest ; one in which no individual has any 
right to advance an opinion, properly so called, the mere 
result of his own private habits of feeling; but which 
should be subjected, as far as possible, to a fixed and un- 
doubted criterion, deduced from demonstrable principles 
and indisputable laws. Therefore, as we have been re- 
ferred to, we shall endeavour, in as short a space as pos- 
sible, to bring to bear upoa. the question those principles 
whose truth is either distinctly demonstrable, or generally 
allowed. 

The question resolves into two branches. First, whether 
works of art may with propriety, be combined with the 
sublimity of nature. This is a point which is discussable 
by every one. And, secondly, what will be the most ap- 
propriate locality for the monument to Scott at Edinburgh. 
And this we think may be assumed to be a question 
interesting to, and discussable by, one-third of the educ& 

ted population of Great Britain : as that proportion is, in 
10* 



WOEKS OF ABT. 

all probability, acquainted with the ups and downs of 
"Auld Beekie." 

For the first branch of the question, we have to confess 
ourselves altogether unable to conjecture what the editor of 
the Gourant means by the phrase " works of art/' in the 
paragraph at page 500. Its full signification embraces all 
the larger creations of the architect, but it cannot be 
meant to convey such a meaning here, or the proposition 
is purer nonsense than we ever encountered in print. Yet, 
in the very next sentence, our editor calls Nelson's Pillar 
a work of art, which is certainly a very original idea of 
his; one which might give rise to curious conjectures rela- 
tive to the acceptation of the word " art " in Scotland, 
which here would seem to be a condensed expression for 
" Part de se f aire ridicule." However, as far as we can 
judge from the general force of the paragraph, he seems 
to mean only those works of art which are intended to 
convey a certain lesson, or impression, to the mind, which 
impression can only be consequent upon the full examina- 
tion of their details, and which is therefore always want- 
ing when they are contemplated from a distance ; so that 
they become meaningless in a piece of general effect.* 
All monuments come under this class of works of art, 
and to them alone, as being in the present case the chief 
objects of investigation, our remarks shall be confined. 

* Por instance, the obelisk on the top of Whitaw, mentioned at p. 
503, is seen all the way to Carlisle ; and, as nobody but the initiated can 
be aware of its signification, it looks like an insane lamp-post in search 
of the picturesque. 



WORKS OF ART. 227 

Monuments are referable to two distinct classes : those 
wliich are intended to recall the memory of life, properly 
called monuments ; and those which are intended to in- 
duce veneration of .death, properly called shrines or 
sepulchres. To the first we intrust the glory, to the second 
the ashes, of the dead. The monument and the shrine are 
sometimes combined, but almost invariably, with bad 
effect ; for the very simple reason, that the honour of the 
monument rejoices ; the honour of the sepulchre mourns. 
When the two feelings come together, they neutralise each 
other, and, therefore, should neither be expressed. Their 
unity, however, is, when thus unexpressed, exquisitely 
beautiful. In the floor of the church of St. Jean and 
Paul at Venice, there is a flat square slab of marble, on 
which is the word " Titianus." This is at once the monu- 
ment and the shrine ; and the pilgrims of all nations who 
pass by feel that both are efficient, when their hearts burn 
within them as they turn to avoid treading on the stone. 

But, whenever art is introduced in either the shrine or 
the monument, they should be left separate. For, again, 
the place of his repose is often selected by the individual 
himself, or by those who loved him, under the influence 
of feelings altogether unconnected with the rushing glory 
of his past existence. The grave must always have a 
home feeling about its peace ; it should have little con- 
nexion with the various turbulence which has passed by 
for ever ; it should be the dwelling-place and the bourne 
of the affections, rather than of the intellect, of the liv 



WORKS OF ART. 



ing ; for the thought and the reason cannot cling to the 
dust, though the weak presence of involuntary passion 
fold its wings forever where its object went down intc 
darkness. That presence is always to a certain degree 
meaningless ; that is, it is a mere clinging of the human 
soul to the wrecks of its delight, without any definite in- 
dication of purpose or reflection: or, if the lingering 
near the ashes be an act ennobled by the higher thoughts 
of religion, those thoughts are common to all mourners. 
Claimed by all the dead, they need not be expressed, for 
they are not exclusively our own ; and, therefore, we find 
that these affections most commonly manifest themselves 
merely by lavishing decoration upon the piece of archi- 
tecture ; which protects the grave from profanation and 
the sepulchre assumes -a general form of beauty, in whose 
rich decoration we perceive veneration for the dead, but 
nothing more, no variety of expression or feeling. Priest 
and layman lie with their lifted hands in semblance of the 
same repose ; and the gorgeous canopies above, while they 
address the imiversal feelings, tell no tale to the intellect. 
But the case is different with the monument ; there we 
are addressing the intellectual powers, the memory and 
imagination ; everything should have a peculiar forcible 
meaning, and Architecture alone is thoroughly insipid, 
even in combination often absurd. The situation of the 
memorial has now become part and parcel of its expressive 
power, and we can no longer allow it to be determined 
by the affections : it must be judged of by a higher and 



WOEKS OF ABT. 

more certain criterion. That criterion we shall endeavour 
to arrive at, observing, en passant, that the proceeding of 
the committee, in requiring architects to furnish them 
with a design without knowing the situation, is about as 
reasonable as requiring them to determine two unknown 
quantities from one equation. If they want the " ready 
made " style, they had better go to the first stonemason's, 
and select a superfine marble slab, with "Affliction sore 
long time he bore, Physicians was in vain," &c., ready cut 
thereon. We could hardly have imagined that any body 
of men could have possessed so extraordinarily minute a 
sum total of sense. 

But to the point. The effect of all works of art is two- 
fold; on the mind and on the eye. First, we have to 
determine how the situation is to be chosen, with relation 
to the effect on the mind. The respect which we enter- 
tain for any individual depends in a greater degree upon 
our sympathy with the pervading energy of his character, 
than upon our admiration of the mode in which that 
energy manifests itself. That is, the fixed degree of in- 
tellectual power being granted, the degree of respect 
which we pay to its particular manifestation depends* 
upon our sympathy with the cause which directed that 
manifestation. Thus, every one will grant that it is a 
noble thing to win successive battles; yet no one ever 
admired Napoleon, who was not ambitious. So, again, 
the more we love our country, the more we admire 
Leonidas. This, which is our natural and involuntary 



230 WORKS OF ART. 

mode of estimating excellence, is partly just and partly 
unjust. It is just, because we look to the motive rather 
than to the action ; it is unjust, because we admire only 
those motives from which we feel that we ourselves act, 
or desire to act: yet, just or unjust, it is the mode which 
we always employ; and, therefore, when we wish to ex- 
cite admiration of any given character, it is not enough to 
point to his actions or his writings, we must indicate as 
far as possible the nature of the ruling spirit which in- 
duced the deed, or pervaded the meditation. Now, this 
can never be done directly; neither inscription nor alle- 
gory is sufficient to inform the feelings of that which 
would most affect them ; the latter, indeed, is a dangerous 
and doubtful expedient in all cases : but it can frequently 
be done indirectly, by pointing to the great first cause, to 
the nursing mother, so to speak, of the ruling spirit whose 
presence we would indicate ; and by directing the atten- 
tion of the spectator to those objects which were its guides 
and modifiers, which became to it the objects of one or 
both of the universal and only moving influences of life, 
hope or love ; which excited and fostered within it that 
feeling which is the essence and glory of all noble minds, 
indefinable except in the words of one who felt it above 

many. 

" The desire of the moth for the star, 

Of the night for the morrow; 
The devotion to something afar 
From the sphere of our sorrow." 

Now, it is almost always in the power of the monument 



WORKS OF ART. 231 

to indicate this first cause by its situation ; for that causf 
must have been something in human, or in inanimate, na- 
ture.* We can therefore always select a spot where that 
part of human or inanimate nature is most peculiarly 
manifested, and we should always do this in preference 
to selecting any scenes of celebrated passages in the indi- 
vidual's life ; for those scenes are in themselves the best 
monuments, and are injured by every addition. Let us 
observe a few examples. The monument to the Swiss 
who fell at Paris, defending the king, in 1790, is not in 
the halls of the Tuileries, which they fortified with their 
bodies; but it is in the very heart of the land in which 
their faithfulness was taught and cherished, and whose 
children they best approved themselves in death : it is cut 
out in their native crags, in the midst of their beloved 
mountains ; the pure streams whose echo sounded in their 
ears for ever fiow and slumber beside and beneath it ; the 
glance of the purple glaciers, the light of the moving 
lakes, the folds of the crimson clouds, encompass, with 
the glory which was the nurse of their young spirits, and 
which gleamed in the darkness of their dying eyes, the 
shadowy and silent monument which is at once the em- 
blem of their fidelity and the memorial of what it cost 
them. 

Again, the chief monument to Napoleon is not on the 

*If in divine nature, it is not a distinctive cause ; it occasioned not 
the peculiarity of the individual's character, but an approximation to 
that general character whose attainment is perfection. 



232 WORKS OF ART. 

crest of the Pennine Alps, nor by the tower of San Ju- 
liaiio, nor on the heights above which the sun rose on 
Austerlitz; for in all these places it must have been 
alone : but it is in the centre of the city of his dominion ; 
in the midst of men, in the motion of multitudes, wherein 
the various and turbulent motives which guided his life 
are still working and moving and struggling through the 
mass of humanity ; he stands central to the restless king- 
dom and capital, looking down upon the nucleus of feel- 
ing and energy, upon the focus of all light, within the 
vast dependent dominion. 

So, again, the tomb of Shelley, which, as I think, is liis 
only material monument, is in the " slope of green access " 
whose inhabitants " have pitched in heaven's smile their 
camp of death," and which is in the very centre of the 
natural light and loveliness which were his inspiration and 
his life ; and he who stands beside the grey pyramid in 
the midst of the grave, the city, and the wilderness, looking 
abroad upon the unimaginable immeasurable glory of the 
heaven and the earth, can alone understand or appreciate 
the power and the beauty of that mind which here dwelt 
and hence departed. We have not space to show how the 
same principle is developed in the noble shrines of the 
Scaligers at Verona ; in the colossal statue of San Carlo 
Borromeo, above the Lago Maggiore ; and in the lonely 
tomb beside the mountain church of Arqua*: but we 

* We wish we could remember some instance of equal fitness in 
Britain, but we fthrinV from the task of investigation : for there rise 



WOBKS OF ART. 233 

think enough, has been said to show what we mean. Now, 
from this principle we deduce the grand primary rule : 
whenever the conduct or the writings of any individual 
have been directed or inspired by feelings regarding man, 
let his monument be among men; whenever they have 
been directed or inspired by nature, let nature be intrusted 
with the monument. 

Again, all monuments to individuals are, to a certain 
extent, triumphant ; therefore, they must not be placed 
where nature has no elevation of character, except in 
a few rare cases. For instance, a monument to Isaac 
Walton would be best placed in a low green meadow, 
within sight of some secluded and humble village ; but, 
in general, elevation of character is required. Hence it 
appears, that, as far as the feeling of the thing is con- 
cerned, works of art should be often combined with the 
bold and beautiful scenery of nature. Where, for in- 
stance, we would ask of the editor of the Courant, would 
he place a monument to Virgil or to Salvator Eosa. We 
think his answer would 'be very inconsistent with his 
general proposition. There are, indeed, a few circum- 



up before our imagination a monotonous multitude of immortal gentle- 
men, in nightshirts and bare feet, looking violently ferocious ; with 
corresponding young ladies, looking as if they did not exactly know 
what to do with themselves, occupied in pushing laurel crowns as 
far down as they will go on the pericrania of the aforesaid gentle- 
men in nightshirts ; and other young ladies expressing their perfect 
satisfaction at the whole proceeding by blowing penny trumpets in 
the rear. 



WCXKKS OF ART. 

stances, by which argument on the other side might b 
supported. For instance, in contemplating any memorial, 
we are apt to feel as if it were weak and inefficient, 
unless we have a sense of its publicity ; but this want is 
amply counterbalanced by a corresponding advantage: 
the public monument is perpetually desecrated by the 
familiarity of unfeeling spectators, and palls gradually 
upon the minds even of those who revere it, becoming 
less impressive with the repetition of its appeals; the 
secluded monument is unprof aned by careless contempla- 
tion, is sought out by those for whom alone it was erected, 
and found where the mind is best prepared to listen to its 
language. 

So much for the effect of monuments on the mind. We 
have next to determine their effect on the eye, which the 
editor is chiefly thinking of when he speaks of the "finish of 
ail." He is right so far, that graceful art will not unite with 
ungraceful nature, nor finished art with unfinished nature, 
if such a thing exists ; but, if the character of the art be 
well suited to that of the given scene, the highest richness 
and finish that man can bestow will harmonise most beauti- 
fully with the yet more abundant richness, the yet more 
exquisite finish, which nature can present. It is to be 
observed, however, that, in such combination, the art is 
not to be a, perfect whole ; it is to be assisted by, as it is 
associated with, concomitant circumstances : for, in all 
cases of effect, that which does not increase destroys, and 
that which is not useful is intrusive. Now, all allegory 



WOKKS OF ART. 235 

must be perfect in itself, or it is absurd; 'therefore, 
allegory cannot be combined with nature. This is one 
important and imperative rule.* Again, Nature is nevei 
mechanical in her arrangements; she never allows two 
members of a composition exactly to correspond : accord- 
ingly, in every piece of art which is to combine, without 
gradations, with landscape (as must always be the case in 
monuments), we must not allow a multitude of similar 
members; the design must be a dignified and simple 
whole. These two rules being observed, there is hardly 
any limit to the variety and beauty of effect which may be 
attained by the fit combination of art and nature. For 
instance, we have spoken already of the monument to the 
Swiss, as it affects the mind ; we may again adduce it, as 
a fine address to the eye. A tall crag of grey limestone 
rises in a hollow, behind the town of Lucerne ; it is 
surrounded with thick foliage of various and beautiful 
colour; a small stream falls gleaming through one of its 
fissures, and finds its way into a deep, clear, and quiet 
pool at its base, an everlasting mirror of the bit of bright 
sky above, that lightens between the dark spires of the 



* It is to be observed, however, that, if the surrounding features 
could be made a part of the allegory, their combination might be 
proper; but this is impossible, if the allegorical images be false 
imaginations, for we cannot make truth a part of fiction : but, where 
the allegorical images are representations of truth, bearing a hidden 
signification, it is sometimes possible to make nature a part of the 
allegory, and then we have good effect, as in the case of the 
Lucerne Lion above mentioned. 



236 WORKS OF ART. 

uppermost pines. There is a deep and shadowy holloa 
at the base of the cliff, increased by the chisel of the 
sculptt T ; and in the darkness of its shade, cut in the 
living rock, lies a dying lion, with its foot on a shield 
bearing the fleur-de-lis, and a broken lance in its side. 
Xow, let us imagine the same figure, placed as the editor 
of the Cowrant would place it, in the market-place of the 
town, on a square pedestal just allowing room for its tail. 
Query, have we not lost a little of the expression ? We 
could multiply instances of the same kind without num- 
ber. The fountains of Italy, for instance, often break out 
among foliage and rock, in the most exquisite combina- 
tions, bearing upon their fonts lovely vestiges of ancient 
sculpture ; and the rich road-side crosses and shrines of 
Germany have also noble effect : but, we think, enough 
has been said, to show that the utmost finish of art is not 
inappropriate among the nobler scenes of nature, especially 
where pensiveness is mixed with the pride of the momi- 
ment, its beauty is altogether lost by its being placed in 
the noise and tumult of a city. 

But it must be allowed, that, however beautiful the 
combination may be, when well managed, it requires far 
more taste and skill on the part of the designer, than the 
mere association of architecture, and therefore, from the 
want of such taste and skill, there is a far greater chance 
of our being offended by impropriety in the detached 
monument, than in that which is surrounded by architec- 
tural forms. And it is also to be observed, that inonu 



WOEKS OF ART. 237 

ments which are to form part of the sublimity as well as 
the beauty of a landscape, and to unite in general and 
large effects, require a strength of expression, a nobility of 
outline, and a simplicity of design, which very few archi- 
tects or sculptors are capable of giving ; and that, there- 
fore, in such situations they are nine times out of ten 
injurious, not because there is anything necessarily impro- 
per in their position, but because there is much incongruity 
with the particular design. 

So much for general principles. Now for the particular 
case. Edinburgh, at the first glance, appears to be a city 
presenting an infinite variety of aspect and association, and 
embarrassing rather by rivalry, than by paucity of advan- 
tage : but, on closer consideration, every spot of the city 
and its environs appears to be affected by some degrading 
influence, which neutralizes every effect of actual or his- 
torical interest, and renders the investigation of the proper 
site for the monument in question about as difficult a prob- 
lem as could well be proposed. Edinburgh is almost the 
only city we remember, which presents not a single point 
in which there is not something striking and even sublime ; 
it is also the only city which presents not a single point in 
which there is not something degrading and disgusting. 
Throughout its whole extent, wherever there is life there 
is filth, wherever there is cleanliness there is desolation. 
The new town is handsome from its command of the sea ; 
but it is as stupid as Pornpeii without its reminiscences. 
The old town is delicious in life and architecture and'asso* 



238 WOEKS OF ART. 

ciation, but it is one great open common sewer. The rocks 
of the castle are noble in themselves, but they guide the 
eye to barracks at the top and cauliflowers at the bottom ; 
the Calton, though commanding a glorious group of city, 
mountain, and ocean, is suspended over the very jaws of 
perpetually active chimneys; and even Arthur's seat, 
though fine in form, and clean, which is saying a good deal, 
is a mere heap of black cinders, Vesuvius without its 
vigour or its vines. Nevertheless, as the monument is to 
be at Edinburgh, we must do the best we can. The first 
question is, Are we to have it in the city or the country ? 
and, to decide this, we must determine which was Scott's 
ruling spirit, the love of nature or of man. 

His descriptive pieces are universally allowed to be lively 
and characteristic, but not first rate ; they have been far 
excelled by many writers, for the simple reason, that Scott, 
while he brings his landscape clearly before his reader's 
eyes, puts no soul into it, when he has done so ; while 
other poets give a meaning and a humanity to every part 
of nature, which is to its loveliness what the breathing 
spirit is to the human countenance. We have not space 
for quotations, but any one may understand our meaning, 
who will compare Scott's description-of the Dell of the Greta, 
in Itokeby, with the speech of Beatrice, beginning " But I 
remember, two miles on this side of the fort," in Act iii. 
Scene 1 of the Cenoi / or who will take the trouble to 
compare carefully any piece he chooses of Scott's proudest 
description, with bits relating to similar scenery in Cole- 



WOEKS OF ART. 

ridge, or Shelley, or Byron (though the latter is not so first 
rate in description as in passion). Now, in his descriptions 
of some kinds of human nature, Scott has never been sur- 
passed, and therefore it might at first appear that his 
influence of inspiration was in man. Not so ; for, when 
such is the case, nationality has little power over the 
author, and he can usurp as he chooses the feelings of the 
inhabitants of every point of earth. Observe, for instance, 
how Shakespeare becomes a Venetian, or a Uoinan, or a 
Greek, or an Egyptian, and with equal facility. Not so 
Scott; his peculiar spirit was that of his native land; 
therefore, it related not to the whole essence of man, but 
to that part of his essence dependent on locality, and there- 
fore, on nature.* The inspiration of Scott, therefore, was 
derived from nature, and fed by mankind. Accordingly, 
his monument must be amidst natural scenery, yet within 
sight of the works and life of men. 

This point being settled saves us a great deal of trouble, 
for we must go out towards Arthur's Seat, to get anything 
of country near Edinburgh, and thus our speculations are 
considerably limited at once. The site recommended by 
W. naturally occurs as conspicuous, but it has many dis- 
advantages. In the first place, it is vain to hope that any 
new erection could exist, without utterly destroying the 
effect of the ruins. These are only beautiful from their 

* Observe, the ruling spirit may arise out of nature, and yet not 
limit the conception to a national character ; but it never so limits 
the conception, unless it has arisen out of nature. 



24C 



WOEKS OF AET. 



situation, but that situation is particularly good. Seen 

from the west in particular (Fig. 46), the composition is 

Fig. 46. 




extraordinarily scientific; the group beginning with the 
concave sweep on the right, rising up the broken crags 
which form the summit, and give character to the mass ; 
then the tower, which, had it been on the highest point, 
would have occasioned rigidity and formality, projecting 
from the flank of the mound, and yet keeping its rank as 
a primary object, by rising higher than the summit itself ; 
finally, the bold, broad, and broken curve, sloping down to 
the basalt crags that support the whole, and forming the 
*% 47 - large branch of the great ogee curve 
(Fig. 4c&\ from a to 5. Now. we defv 



WOKKS OF ART. * 241. 

the best architect in the world, to add anything to this bit 
of composition, and not to spoil it. 

Again, W. says, first, that the monument " could be 
placed so as to appear quite distinct and unconnected " 
with the ruins ; and, a few lines below, he says, that its 
effect will be " taken in connexion with the ruins." Now, 
though Charles Lamb says that second thoughts are not 
best, with W. they very certainly are : the effect would, 
without doubt, be taken in very close connexion with the 
ruins, rather too close, indeed, for the comfort of either 
monument : both would b*e utterly spoiled. Nothing in 
the way of elevated architecture will harmonise with ruin, 
but ruin: evidence of present humble life, a cottage or 
pigsty, for instance, built up against 'the old wall, is often 
excellent by way of contrast, but the addition or association 
of high architecture is total destruction. 

But suppose we were to throw the old chapel down, 
would the site be fit for Scott ? Not by any means. It is 
conspicuous certainly, but only conspicuous to the London 
road, and the Leith glass-houses. It is visible certainly 
from the Calton and the Castle : but, from the first, barely 
distinguishable from the huge, black, overwhelming cliff 
.behind ; and, from the second, the glimpse of it is slight 
and unimportant, for it merely peeps out f rom behind the 
rise to Salisbury Crags, and the bold mound on which it 
stands is altogether concealed ; while, from St. Leonard's 
and the south approaches, it is quite invisible. Then for 
the site itself, it is a piece of perfect desolation ; a lonely 



242 WORKS OF ART. 

crag of broken basalt, covered with black debris, wliich 
have fallen from time to time from the cliffs above, and 
lie in massive and weedy confusion along the flanks and 
brow of the hill, presenting to the near spectator the po- 
rous hollows, and scoriaceous lichenless surface, which he 
scarcely d res to tread on, lest he should find it yet scorch- 
ing from its creative fires. This is, indeed, a scene well 
adapted for the grey and shattered ruins, but altogether 
unfit for the pale colours and proportioned form of any 
modern monument. 

Lastly, suppose that even 'the actual site were well 
chosen, the huge and shapeless cliff immediately above 
would crush almost any mass of good proportion. The 
ruins themselves provoke no comparison, for they do not 
pretend to size, but any colossal figure or column, or any 
fully proportioned architectural form, would be either 
crushed by the cliff, or would be totally out of proportion 
with the mound on which it would stand. 

These considerations are sufficient to show that the site 
of St. Anthony's Chapel is not a good one ; but W. may 
prove, on the other hand, that it is difficult to find a better. 
Were there any such lonely dingle scenery here as that of 
Hawthornden, or any running water of any kind near, 
something might be done ; but the sculptor must be bold 
indeed, who dares to deal with bare turf and black basalt. 
The only idea which strikes us as in the least degree tole- 
rable is this ; where the range of Salisbury Crags gets low 
and broken, towards the north, at about the point of equal 



WORKS OF ART. 243 

elevation with St. Anthony's Chapel, let a bold and solid 
mass of mason-work be built out from the cliff, in grey 
stone, broken like natural rock, rising some four or five 
feet above the brow of the crag, and sloping down, not too 
steeply, into the bank below. This must be built fairly 
into the cliff to allow for disintegration. At the foot of 
this, let a group of figures, not more than five in number, 
be carved in the solid rock, in the dress of Border shep- 
herds, with the^plaid and bonnet (a good costume for the 
sculptor), in easy attitudes ; sleeping perhaps, reclining at 
any rate. On the brow of this pedestal, let a colossal 
figure of Scott be placed, with the arms folded, looking 
towards the castle. 

The first advantage of this disposition will be, that the 
position of the figure will be natural ; for if the fancy en- 
dow it with life, it will seem to stand on the brow of the 
cliff itself, booking upon the city, while the superior 
elevation of the pedestal will nevertheless keep it dis- 
tinctly a statue. * 

The second advantage is, that it will be crushed by no 
sxipereminent mass, and will not be among broken ruins 
of fallen rocks, but upon the brow of a solid range of 
hill. 

The greatest advantage will be the position of the figure 
with relation to the scenes of Scott's works. Holyrood 
will be on its right ; St. Leonard's at its feet ; the Canon- 
gate, and the site of the Heart of Mid-Lothian, directly in 
front ; the Castle above ; and, beyond its towers, right in 



244 WORKS OF ART. 

the apparent glance of the figure, will be the plain of Stir- 
ling and the distant peaks of the Highland Hills. The 
figure will nut be distinctly visible from the London road, 
but it will be in full view from any part of the city'; and 
there will be very few of Scott's works, from some one of 
the localities, of which the spectator may not, with a suffi- 
ciently good glass, discern this monument. 

But the disadvantages of the design are also manifold. 
First, the statue, if in marble, will be a harsh interruption 
to the colour of the cliffs ; and, if in grey stone, must be 
of coarse workmanship. Secondly, whatever it is worked 
in, must be totally exposed, and the abominable Scotch 
climate will amuse itself by drawing black streaks down 
each side of the nose. One cannot speculate here as in 
Italy, where a marble Cupid might face wind and weather 
for years, without damage accruing to one dimple ; the 
Edinburgh climate would undermine the constitution of a 
colossus. Again, the pedestal must necessarily be very 
high ; even at the low part of the cliffs, it would be, we 
suppose, 40 or 50 feet : then the statue must be in propor- 
tion, say 10 or 12 feet high. Now, statues of this size are 
almost always awkward; and people are apt to joke upon 
them, to speculate upon the probable effect of a blow from 
their fists, or a shake of their hand, etc., and a monument 
should never induce feelings of this kind. In the case of 
the statue of San Carlo Borromeo, which is 72 feet high 
without the pedestal, people forget to whom it was erected, 
In the joke of getting into its skull, and looking out at its eye, 



WORKS OF ART. 245 

Lastly, in all monuments of this kind, there is generally 
some slight appearance of affectation ; of an effort at the- 
atrical effect, which, if the sculptor has thrown dignity 
enough into the figure to reach the effect aimed at, is not 
offensive ; but, if he fails, as he often will, becomes ridi- 
culous to some minds, and painful to others. None of this 
forced sentiment would be apparent in a monument placed 
in a city ; but for what reason ? Because a monument so 
placed has no effect on the feelings at all, and therefore 
cannot be offensive, because it cannot be sublime. When 
carriages, and dust-carts, and drays, and muffin-men, and 
post-men, and foot-men, and little boys, and nursery-maids, 
and milk-maids, and all the other noisy living things of a 
city, are perpetually rumbling and rattling, and roaring 
and crying, about the monument, it is utterly impossible 
that it should produce any effect upon ttie mind, and there- 
fore as impossible that it should offend as that it should 
delight. It then becomes a mere address to the eye, and 
we may criticise its proportions, and its workmanship, but 
we never can become filled with its feeling. In the iso- 
lated case, there is an immediate impression produced of 
some kind or other ; but, as it will vary with every indivi- 
dual, it must in some cases offend, even if on the average 
it be agreeable. The choice to be made, therefore, is be- 
tween offending a few, and affecting none ; between sim- 
ply abiding the careless arbitration of the intellect, and 
daring the finer judgment of the heart. Surely, the monu- 
ment which Scotland erects in her capital, to her noblest 



246 WORKS OF ART. 

child, should appeal, not to the mechanical and cold per- 
ceptions of the brain and eye, but to a prouder and purer 
criterion, the keen and quick emotions of the ethereal and 
enlightening spirit. 
Oxford, October 20, 1838.